Local businesses feeling impact of homeless at Comanche Creek

There is concern over the environmental and safety impacts the campers have on the greenway.

Posted: Sep 15, 2021 7:04 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Many people are still calling Comanche Creek home as the City of Chico continues working to find a solution to the ongoing homelessness crisis.

Sub Station owner Erik Twist told Action News Now that he has had issues with people living at Comanche Creek, but he understands that something needs to be done to help them.

"They want to use the bathroom, they want a cup of water, they want a place to sit down and rest,” Twist said.

The list goes on for the all the time's someone from Comanche Creek wandered over to Twist’s sandwich shop.

"They shout at my customers for no apparent reason,” Twist said. “My Christian values say yes, try and help these people where I can, but I am not supposed to take the place of the Jesus Center. I am not set up for that type of service."

Chico City Councilman Sean Morgan also sees the impacts of the encampment as he voiced during an interview on KPAY News Talk.

"The business owners, the homes around Comanche creek, the people downstream at Comanche Creek, everybody's suffering because eight people are being completely unreasonable and will not negotiate in good faith,” Morgan said.

There is also the concern over how the waste from the park is impacting the land.

“It's a huge environmental impact when this waste gets into our waterways because that's a fast track to the ocean essentially,” Butte Environmental Council General Manager Caitlin Dalby said.

Dalby and other volunteers consistently go out to Comanche Creek to help clean things up. Those living there also told Action News Now they see this need.

"It just looks like we trashed this place and I hate to say that, but we all need to clean it up,” Danny Irons, who lives at Comanche Creek said.

Although, the trash troubles may not be going anywhere anytime soon.

"How about if we let you stay in Comanche creek,” Morgan said. “We know we don't like you there, but we'll take the resources from the airport, clean it up, protect the business owners, put up some fencing, porta-potties, dumpsters, all that stuff. We will let you have that while we build the other site."

Dalby believes that having more dumpsters and a trash service could help with trash ending up in the waterway, but Irons thinks more needs to be done.

"I don't even see why the city would let us stay here if we didn't have some kind of a way to pay back or do something for what we have ruined because this place used to not look this bad at all,” Irons said.

One woman who did not want to be identified told Action News Now that over the past two weeks she has been feeling nervous for her safety.

"We've had a homicide at Comanche, we've had explosions, we've had fires, we've had other assaults and stuff like that out there and that has to be our primary concern,” Lieutenant Brian Miller with the Chico Police Department said.

Lt. Miller said that CPD is doing everything it can to prevent crime inside the park and in the surrounding area.

"And hope that the people who are there that are not criminal are able to at least not be affected by the crime,” Miller said.

The Comanche Creek Greenway area is still under litigation as the city looks for a solution.

"They need help is what they need, more than just a judgment,” Twist said. “They need real help."

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