Homeless leave Albany Bulb following settlement deal

It's moving day for dozens of transients who spent years living at the Albany Bulb, a piece of land on the border of Albany and Berkeley.
April 25, 2014 10:12:18 PM PDT
It's moving day for dozens of transients who spent years living at the Albany Bulb, a piece of land on the border of Albany and Berkeley. The city reached a settlement with the residents -- each will receive $3,000 if they leave Friday.

It's a slow process as everything the homeless own has to be carted or biked from their camp. They say they don't want to move, but after their lawyers reached a settlement, they didn't have a choice.

Friday, folks tried to make sense of chaotic campsites furnished with scrap metal, original works of art, and broken bits of other people's dreams.

Thomas Barnett's been sleeping under tarps for five years. He carefully packs his belongings, preparing to move out.

"I don't know where I'm really going," he said.

A front-loader and dumpster wait to clear anything left behind.

Once Barnett's camp disappears, Albany will give him a check for $3,000.

"Three thousand dollars isn't much to start over, it's something anyway," he said.

Amber Whitson refused the money. Now she and her partner risk a criminal record.

"I'm not moving; I'm not going to let them bully me out of my home," Whitson said. "I'm not going to let them purchase my sense of security."

Albany's city clerk says clearing the camps will make the park safer.

"If you think of a small child or senior citizen, we want to ensure safety for all park users," Nicole Almaguer said.

Though some visitors say they never felt at risk.

Osha Neumann helped the bulb's homeless reach a settlement with the city of Albany.

"I'm extremely worried for the people once they're kicked out of here," Neumann said.

Gary Amar is taking a different perspective. He says the settlement has spurred him to load up his bike and move on.

"I think it's a good thing for everybody whether they like it or not," he said.


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