The time is up for the homeless illegally camping at Windchime Park in Chico | News


The City of Chico said about half of the 40 homeless people moved into the Pallet or Torres Shelter sites.

CHICO, Calif. – The City of Chico began its illegal camping enforcement at Windchime Park on Thursday.

Windchime encampment enforcement

All the RVs and cars that used to line Humboldt Ave. near Windchime Park are gone. All of the tents that were also pitched there are gone.

Chico Public Works crews moved in, cleaning up the trash the homeless left behind. It was a sigh of relief for neighbors, but a rough day for those illegally camped who now need to either move into shelter or elsewhere.

Chico Public Works Director Erik Gustafson said the process they have been using to clear areas has worked so far.

“The idea is to limit the amount of time to have staff touch the items because it can be kind of hazardous and a safety issue,” said Gustafson. “We do everything we can to prevent our staff from touching it as much as possible.”

Windchime encampment enforcement

It has been a month since the city cleared out a homeless camp. Gustafson said that is because the plaintiff had a problem with how the city did its Outreach and Engagement.

The judge ordered the city to tell the homeless how they were going to store their property upfront and what the complaint process looks like.

Windchime encampment enforcement

Gustafson told Action News Now 18 of the 40 people illegally camped in Windchime moved into the Pallet or Torres Shelter sites. As of Thursday, there were 17 open beds at the Torres Shelter and 54 Pallet Shelters available.

Some of the people moved their tents across the bridge on Boucher Street, just on the other side of Little Chico Creek

The homeless there told Action News Now it was either move to this spot or get arrested. There were about a dozen tents in that area Thursday evening, and the people said they did not want shelter.

Windchime encampment enforcement

The city is aware of the shuffle, but says its hands are tied with how it can prevent this.

“We recognize that,” said Gustafson. “I think to the east and west of Little Chico Creek Greenway here is where folks have gone. We see that, and we hear from the adjoining neighbors and know we will enforce those areas soon.”

Under the settlement agreement, the city can only enforce one area at a time. Neighbors around there told Action News Now they are incredibly angry, uncomfortable and feel unsafe with the homeless so close.

Other neighbors said they feel bad that the homeless are bouncing around, and think they need at least dumpsters in the area.

Windchime encampment enforcement

Gustafson told Action News Now that they will not be adding bathrooms, sanitation or dumpsters to this spot because they plan to enforce here next.

He added they had wanted to enforce all of the areas along the Little Chico Creek at once, but the plaintiff did not approve.

That means the homeless still have more time to stay in this new spot across the bridge near Windchime Park.

“I feel like we are probably three quarters of the way through,” said Gustafson. “Granted it is slow, we recognize that, but it is working. The areas where we have enforced stay clean for the most part. There are still some that try to go back and camp and what not, and we deal with those accordingly.”

He said as the settlement agreement outlines, the city will start notifying the plaintiff about its next area of enforcement next week. Once a spot is approved, then illegal campers will get 7-day notices, followed by 72-hours before they have to move out of the area.

If they get the green light, Gustafson says they will clear all the other areas along the Little Chico Creek next.


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