Logs placed along West Oakland streets raise concerns

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Take a drive along Poplar Street in West Oakland and it's hard to miss logs along the road. Some are 2 feet wide and 10 feet long, and many are tagged with graffiti.

Some think the logs were put there to prevent people living in RVs from parking in the industrial part of town.

Natasha Jenkins has been homeless for the past year and lives nearby. She understands the struggles homeless people deal with, but for her - a single woman living in a trailer - the logs provide security.

"If somebody was to park in front of my trailer, I would feel unsafe because I don't know what they are into, I don't know what they do," explains Jenkins. "The logs are to keep people (out), who dump stuff."

Needa Bee is with the homeless advocacy group The Village. She says she recognizes the safety concerns with the RVs. But Bee says this is a problem the city hasn't been willing to address and logs are punishing those struggling to survive.

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She says one solution can be implementing a resolution the city passed two years ago to set up two public parcels in each of Oakland's districts as a place for homeless people to go. However, the city has not implemented this yet, according to Bee.

Critics say the city is ignoring what looks to be illegal dumping.

"It's crazy the city won't respond to this, but they will respond with a quickness to somebody who is surviving on their knees in a car," says Bee. "I think it is ridiculous and mean."

In an email to ABC7 News, the city responded by saying: "The city does not support intentional obstruction of the public right of way. Administrative staff will be reaching out to the council member's office and community stakeholders on this issue."

The city didn't indicate if they know who placed the logs on the street. Given the size and weight of the wood, it would likely have to have been done using a bulldozer or forklift.

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Bee says she doesn't know if the massive logs have helped anyone, but she definitely thinks it has hurt the community.

"Then there needs to be a little bit more compassion, rather than so much hatred," Bee says. "Where do people go if there is nowhere for people to go?"