A community of approximately 40 to 50 unhoused Berkeley residents, who have been living for months in encampments on the verge of the I- 80 interchange at University Avenue, learned last week that they are about to be evicted in a coordinated enforcement action planned by the City of Berkeley, California Highway Patrol (CHP), Berkeley Police Department (BPD), and Caltrans.
The plan is that beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 11, Caltrans, with the assistance of the CHP, will evict people and their belongings from their state properties. Immediately following, when these same unhoused individuals move on to City of Berkeley adjacent alleys and sidewalks, BPD will evict them again with threats of arrest and property confiscation. Many of them, who are now sheltering between the on ramps and off ramps of the freeway, were driven out of Berkeley when police began enforcing the new sidewalk ordinance that prohibits people from having a shelter and belongings that take up more than 3 square feet.
The question they keep asking is: If you don’t want us here and we can’t go any further west without landing in the water, “Where do we go?” In an attempt to get an answer to that question, a coalition of Berkeley advocates, activists, and unhoused residents plan to converge on the City Council and pose that question directly to our elected officials and city administrators.