“I’m really happy. It’s going to help me a lot,” Olivera said. “It’s going to be good. I will really be able to have a restful sleep.
But Schatzinger said he was only offered a spot at a tuff shed site, which he declined because there is no parking within three blocks, residents are not allowed to bring mattresses or bedding and can only use city-provided cots, and there is little storage space. Instead, he and his neighbor Jessica Huffman, 42, will likely be looking for another place to park their RVs.
They came to Wood Street after being forced out of other campsites, Huffman said, and she didn’t want to go back to a situation where she has to move her motorhome every few days.
“It’s going to be a big deal when we’re forced into residential neighborhoods,” Huffman said. “That’s why the cops pushed us all here in the first place. But it looks like we’re probably going to have to.
Over the past decade, the Wood Street encampment has grown from a few RVs parked across the street to a sprawling tangle of structures, vehicles and trailers. It spans more than 15 blocks below the I-880 overpass between Wood Street and the BNSF and Union Pacific railroad tracks on land owned by Caltrans, the City of Oakland, BNSF, and private entities.
But lawyers for Caltrans say the encampment poses a serious health and safety risk, citing some 200 fires over the past two years, including one on July 11 that sent plumes of smoke onto the highway and prompted the transport agency to start cleaning the site.
“The frequency of fires, particularly in this area,” Mark Guenzi, a Caltrans attorney, said in a hearing Aug. 26, “is simply very concerning given the potential for catastrophic risk.”