Bidwell Park becoming a hobo camp

30 Dec

My dog investigates a pile of trash left behind by illegal campers in Middle Bidwell Park. We saw several bike frames and various parts laying among the piles.

My family lives a block from Middle Bidwell  Park – ooooo! Lucky us!

When we bought and fixed up this old crapper, we were re-assessed very eagerly by the old county ass-essor, Fred. He told me, our proximity to Bidwell Park added to the valuation of our house.  He jacked us good!

Now we live next to a hobo camp. Wonder what  that does to property value?

We walk our old dog Biscuit in the park every morning – she’s got the diabetes, just like a person, she has to have regular exercise to keep her blood sugar down.  So we walk the two or three blocks worth over to the creek every day, early, in the cold and damp, kind of a morning ritual

We let ourselves get into kind of a rut, taking the same main trail every day. One morning this couple was coming along with a pretty tough looking poodle – and you know, Biscuit is not one to back down – so my husband shooshed us off without warning onto a less-beaten path – The Fitness Trail!

The Fitness Trail runs between Vallombrosa and Petersen Drive in the park. The city spent I don’t know how much, putting in these “fitness stations” – I think they’re nothing but a liability, and would like to have seen the money spent on trail maintenance, but the  people who made that decision are already long gone, so what’s the use of complaining?

The park has become a disgrace. Non-native species  have been allowed to grow up and push out the native growth. Overgrowth is everywhere, smothering big trees, causing limb drop. Big trees have been falling, including a tree that smashed to a million pieces all over Vallombrosa a week or so ago and shut the street down while  crews swept it off to the side of the road. Where it still  sits, creating rot and blocking the view of the park from the street.  It’s not nature, it’s an eyesore.

The park used to be nice to look at, now I’m more concerned about the cops being able to see in there.

As my husband and I followed Biscuit up the unfamiliar trail, we suddenly spotted an obvious, well-entrenched homeless camp.  Five tents and an E-Z up were visible from where we stood.  All occupied. Garbage littered the ground in every direction, including a scattering of those poop bags the city provides to pick up after dogs. They were laying on the ground full of poop and tied in knots. Whose poop is anybody’s guess.

We skee-daddled – I don’t want to mess with those people. I remember how Ann Schwab snickered as I told the story of a guy named Jerry Paddy. I used to live and work in Sacramento, I used to ride the city bus. I had to change busses at K Street Mall, walk a few blocks up K Street. Every morning as I joined the mass of commuters I’d see this guy, dressed in bed sheets. We all called him “Jesus,” and we all walked within arms’ distance of this beaming idiot.

One day a man who was visiting a relative at Sutter Hospital noticed this Jesus character wrestling in the bushes near Sutter’s Fort with a woman. This passerby thought it was a sexual assault, and confronted  “Jesus”, who reached into his sheets and took out a 12 inch knife and stuck the poor man right through the gut. This is where Ann Schwab snickered, cause I used the word “gut”. I got news for you Ann – the poor bastard with the stuck guts wasn’t laughing, he was dead before they could get him into the hospital.

“Jesus” was a man named Jerry Paddy, and he showed no remorse for the murder. He went off to the state hospital wearing his idiot grin.

So this is what I’m thinking as I encounter that same grin in the park, or around town, or walking down the sidewalk in front of my home or  one of my rentals.

When we realized we were standing in a homeless camp, my husband and I went home and called the Park Division.  The woman who answered told me a ranger would be sent over to the location – The Fitness Trail, between Stations 3 and 4.  Later we realized, it was more extensive than that, but we figured the rangers would see it.

Next day  the tents and E-Z up were all still there, with more trash.

So, I e-mailed city manager Mark Orme. He said,

“Thank you for this e-mail.  To answer your question, yes, the City is following up on these reports.  I’ll follow-up with staff in relation to this specific site. “

Later he got back to me,

“Again, thank you for your reporting of this.   As additional follow-up, I can tell you that the Park Rangers did engage with this group yesterday, after the report was received.   Additionally, the Rangers have engaged and ticketed this group of illegal campers several times over the past week.  The Park Rangers are coordinating with the Police Department for follow-up today for this specific illegal encampment. “

Yesterday morning this is what we encountered.


The tents and E-Z up were gone, but they’d left all the trash. I don’t know whether the city came back to get it, but if it’s still there this morning we’ll take more pictures and get back to Mark Orme.

3 Responses to “Bidwell Park becoming a hobo camp”

  1. J. December 30, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    I just perused this website for the 1st time. It’s excellent, and I’ll be checking in often. Thanks for bringing these issues to our attention.

    • Juanita Sumner December 31, 2016 at 6:10 am #

      Thanks for coming by – I hope you don’t mind, I edited off your last name, I didn’t know if you wanted it posted. I could put it back if you want – let me know.

      And come on back and see us again, take your shoes off, sit a spell…

  2. Jim December 31, 2016 at 11:35 am #

    However the pensions for the City staff are well cared for. Somehow they got the time and funds for that.

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