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Albany settles with evicted Bulb residents

Bay City News
People living on a former landfill known as the Albany Bulb will have to move out by Friday as part of a settlement with the city of Albany.

The Albany City Council voted in May 2013 to begin a process of incorporating the Bulb into the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park and to start enforcing the city's no-camping ordinance there in October.

In October, the council approved a $570,000 transition plan that included assistance and temporary transitional shelter for homeless people.

A group of several law firms, including Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, the East Bay Community Law Center and the Homeless Action Center then sued the city on behalf of the landfill residents in November.

The civil rights lawsuit, lodged in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, asked for a temporary restraining order and/or an injunction barring Albany from removing homeless people from the site until the city found adequate shelter for them.

The complaint asserted that the city's offer to set up temporary shelter in portable trailers parked next to the entrance road to the landfill was insufficient.

It also said many Bulb residents would not have been able to access the trailers due to physical disabilities, there would not have been enough beds for all evicted residents, and that the trailers would not have offered people the right to privacy they enjoyed in their homes on the landfill.

As part of the settlement, 28 of the residents will be entitled to $3,000 in cash in exchange for leaving with all their personal property by Friday. They also have to stay away from the Bulb for a period of 12 months.

Craig Labadie, Albany City Attorney, says the city is pleased to have arrived at a resolution of the case. "We feel the settlement establishes a framework for the cooperative relocation of individuals at the Albany bulb," he said.

Osha Neumann of the East Bay Community Law Center said the settlement aroused more mixed emotions in him.

"I'm glad we got some of them a bit of compensation. That's more than they usually get when kicked out of town," he said. "But the fact that they're getting kicked out of town is the problem. And that struggle isn't over."
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