Homeless removed from Joe Rodota Trail in Sonoma County

Bay Area

SANTA ROSA (KRON) — The clean up of the largest homeless camp in Sonoma County history is not simple.

At its peak, 200 people set up tents and lived along the Joe Rodota Trail.

“We’re here not because of choice, but because we don’t have a choice,” Sherry Lindsley said.

At the staging area behind the goodwill on stony point road. 

Santa Rosa police provided security, and Sonoma County parks offered services. 

People were given two 80 gallon totes to hold their things — which will be placed in storage. 

Lindsley packed up and headed to one of the four shelters available.

“Whoever has a home don’t look down on us because we are houseless,” Lindsley said.

Teams went from tent to tent to see how to get people out swiftly and with no drama.

“We’ve been out here for weeks engaging people and letting them know this is coming,” Rohish Lal, with the Sonoma County Health Department said. “This is a public health hazard.”

Rats, human waste and fires — including one from Friday morning plagued the trail.

Clean up should start right away on Saturday. This includes removing any left over belongings and a hazmat team will disinfect the entire 8.5-mile trail, which means it will be closed about a month for restoration.

When it reopens, there will be barriers to keep people from reestablishing a new encampment.

“The county is hoping to get them to a more stable place and have the trail back to its intended use,” Lal said.

Israel Thill said he has lived on the trail off and on for 10 years.

Packing up his life and moving out…

“It is very strange,” he said.

But he does have a plan.

“Going to look for an apartment on Craigslist.

Buses went to the trail on Friday to take people to different shelters. In the process of clearing out the entire trail, there were no arrests or any citations.

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