The City revives 2008 plans for possible legal Camping within the City Limits

Hilficker site

Foot Hilfiker lane near the sewage treatment plant and Fire Training center

The Times-Standard reported that the City of Eureka is eyeing four potential sites for having a legal homeless camp within the City.  2 of the sites are located right near or in Old Town, and one of the sites is located near the Bayshore Mall.

In our opinion, the far superior site, and one which had been the top contender in the past for former Chief Garr Nielsen, is located near the sewage treatment plant and Fire Training center on Hilfiker lane.  There are very few businesses or residences nearby, and the foot traffic in the area is already pretty minimal.

From the Humboldt Herald in 2008:

To have or not to have a homeless camp in Humboldt County has long been debated on this blog.  Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen added his voice to those calling for a camp at a meeting of the Human Rights Commission, according to the Times-Standard.

”My preference would be for the city and the community to designate a specific area that we recognize as OK (for homeless camping),” Nielsen told the dozen or so people in attendance, adding that the site would have to be complete with trash cans and bathrooms. “I think it would be much safer, much more sanitary and much easier to deal with.”
Nielsen also wants to see a parking area designated for people who sleep in their vehicles.”
If memory serves us correctly Linda Atkins, on behalf of the council, actually made the parking area happen briefly until the City Manager pulled the plug.


Even though it’s been a long time coming, sometimes it’s better late than never. Let’s hope this Council will choose wisely and that this is a step in the right direction for Eureka.


11 thoughts on “The City revives 2008 plans for possible legal Camping within the City Limits

  1. 7 years later…..and the solutions proposed back then seem to be getting some traction again. For all of you who claim that the Brady Bunch brought solutions, think again. Jobs Jobs Jobs, nope. Public Safety, worse.

    Had the steps that Chief Nielsen and the Council (prior to the Brady Bunch) been implemented back then, Eureka would look like a much different city. You can thank Tyson and the influential right wingers for making sure nothing was accomplished. Better late then never is true, but it’s still very frustrating.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Times standard link to the current story

    it sounds like they will overdo it and overthink it.

    naturally, cause so many agencies will be involved rather than pretending the problem doesn’t exist.

    One problem central to the issue is the building codes and nothing talked about so far sounds remotely code compliant. I believe that cities can vote in ordinances that can work around the UBC but the state is the fly in this ointment isn’t it,l and the fed after that.

    They have to come up with some legal workaround, say ‘this area that has a fence, here is ok to camp, we don’t have anything to do with it, we won’t enforce camping ordinances there..we will patrol and answer calls for crime and health issues.’ ‘we will be cracking down on illegal camping throughout the city limits.’…the ‘blind eye’ approach that has more and less been the mode so far.

    other than that the legal issues would seem to be expensive and complex…any comments from actual lawyers here about that?


  3. The old mill site in Samoa sounds much better. With real bathrooms and an infrastructure already in place, Fences and Giant warehouse for the cold and raining times of the year. Maybe using the facility as a training center for how to get back into society and Drug Rehab for those in need.


  4. I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine and we were both chuckling about what is really about to happen with this push to help the Homeless. Robbie will make a backroom deal with the City of Eureka. He will agree to temporarily house the Homeless on the Balloon Tract and We will pay for the CLEAN UP. Lets see how this plays out?


    • swami!…and here is the article from thje NCJ about it, including the info that the city is now following the Focus Strategies paper linked in the article..they had contracted for the study/paper.


      I don’t read and hear everything about this issue but the lost coast journal article from February, the article about the MAC

      So, was this news to you all, the Focus Strategies model being followed? It was that Feb article that I first and last heard about it.

      And Sparky, we will see what Arkley gains from this, free taxpayer funded clean up it may be!…and whatever development considerations can be gained..always..follow the money trail.


      • Too correct MMD. All the talk will be about “helping the homeless”, but in fact it’s a grab for more public money and increased enforcement, without addressing any local underlying problems such as tackilng the root cause.

        These plans sound like, again sound like a “progressive” approach. But look at the plan that was linked to….it sorely lacks any historical research from the area or local input. In fact, if I read correctly, the oldest reference in the appendix was a 2005 story from the NCJ….as if that’s when the large population of homeless cropped up in the area.

        It also references the declining numbers of homeless in Eureka. That’s right, the study showed a decrease in homeless over the last few years. Contrary to what my, our possibly your, eyes see on a daily basis.

        MMD is right….follow the money!


    • It wont pay out. It wont help them at al most won’t even appreciate it.


  5. Is anything happening with the old Jacobs/Zoe Barnum property? It has bathrooms, an industrial kitchen and lots of rooms that could be used as dorms and family housing as well as fields that could be used for tent and vehicle campers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good new. Elections have consequences. The new Eureka Council is going to seriously try to to manage the side effects of extreme poverty rather than considering poverty to be a moral failing that deserves punishment.

    Whatever the problems there will be with this approach, and there will be lots of them, they will be easier and less costly to resolve than perpetually harassing and moving along an ever larger number of people. Homelessness isn’t a “one size fits all condition”.

    The most difficult problem is filtering them into categories that reflect the reality of their situations rather than a simple preconceived ideology of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people. I hope a ‘campground’ will be primarily managed as a tool to tackle that task. It shouldn’t be used as long term domicile for any individual. If it becomes viewed and used by police as a universal ‘dumping ground’ to move difficult people off the streets rather than determining whether they are a likely criminal threat or need immediate psychiatric care, it will fail.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OP and NAN have great points.

    It’s hard to get excited about voluntary internment, reluctant support seems common. In no way can it offer the dignity required by most human beings to pull themselves out of destitution.

    It’s especially perplexing when we have so much large, empty blight in Eureka. The old Zoe Barnum property is perfect, a centralized location that would require careful integration with the neighborhood. The abandoned Ray’s Market is large enough for every homeless individual and services.

    Too bad the only proven solution is off the table.

    People need small, free apartments for as long as needed to pull their lives back together.

    Put hundreds of people in a tent-city and we’re still going to have hundreds more preferring the independence offered by the transient camps.

    Will a centralized tent city provide the green-light law enforcement wants to double-down on harassing illegal campers?


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