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City of Chico continues homeless evictions in 'Triangle'

Neighbors woke up Thursday morning to dump trucks and bulldozers right across the street from their front yards. Public works and Chico PD enforced the encampment ban, leaving the "Triangle" now empty.

Posted: Feb 5, 2021 12:09 AM
Updated: Feb 5, 2021 9:48 AM

CHICO, Calif. - The city of Chico moved forward with getting rid of encampments out of city parks Thursday afternoon.

The Chico "Triangle," where Cypress St. and Pine St. meet, is now empty.

The Chico “Triangle” on Pine St and Cypress is now completely empty. Public works and Police showed up earlier today to remove everything, and left behind only a line of caution tape. This, as the city continues to look for homeless sheltering options. (02/04/2021)

The night before, on Wednesday, the park was filled with tents and the homeless. Now, the only thing remaining is caution tape.

Neighbors living in the area shared what it was like living next to the homeless encampment.

"We got together and bought a house, but then all these people moved in and we've had to call the cops multiple times for people just screaming for hours and hours and hours," said neighbor David Nichols next to his wife Kelly who is holding their son.

They watched on as the bulldozers and dump trucks emptied the park.

Thursday morning, the couple woke up to a different sound, and they say it makes them feel safer.

"Just being able to have a home that's safe so I can raise my son," said David. "I'm really glad that Chico is doing something about this."

But not all community members feel the same as David and Kelly.

"These people are just trying to exist and this is what is happening to them," said protestor Alma Godinez. "This is a shameful stain on the city of Chico."

City Manager, Mark Orme, said Chico is continuing to move forward with what the city council desired. But now that both Lower Bidwell Park and the Triangle are empty, where do all the people go?

"This is not an easy ordinance to enforce, and so even with the last effort in Lower Bidwell park, we saw folks that got a hotel room that would've otherwise not had a hotel room," said Orme. "So we're seeing a lot of success come out of this."

"My point is it's up to the city to provide an alternative if they intend to move forward with enforcement," said Chico resident, Harrison Pratt.

"What happens to the individuals that don't cooperate or don't go into the hotels or motels, what happens with them?" asked Action News Now.

"I don't have an answer for you. It's a question that you'll have to ask those individuals you know, where are you going next?" said Orme in response.

Action News Now reached out to Mayor Andrew Coolidge, and Police Chief Matt Madden to find out if anyone had been arrested during Thursday's encampment ban. We have yet to hear back from them.

On Tuesday, the Chico city council passed a motion to use a quarter-of-a-million dollars in coronavirus funds towards finding a proper socially distant shelter.

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Thankfully, the wind is cooperating much better today in northern California. Our weather is still quite hot for this time of year and very dry. There is plenty of haze and smoke from the Fawn Fire overhead, and it isn't leaving yet.
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