Judge allows Oakland to clear homeless encampment on Wood Street to build affordable housing

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Judge allows Oakland to clear encampment for affordable housing
A federal judge lifted Oakland's Wood Street homeless encampment restraining order, which will allow for affordable housing to be built.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A federal judge announced at a hearing Friday he will soon lift the temporary restraining order allowing people to live at the Wood Street homeless encampment. Oakland wants to turn the site into affordable housing.

A judge had temporarily blocked those plans, telling Oakland officials they needed to offer a place for the residents to live while they start construction. Oakland recently constructed portables up the street and says it can now start housing people -- thus leading to the judge planning to lift the order.

"I am really still kind of speechless," said Freeway Blalock, a resident of the encampment. "The judge had the opportunity to do right thing, and they failed to do so, so now it is our opportunity to step up and show everybody why we are holding down the fort."

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The Wood Street encampment has been the sight of numerous dangerous incidents, including fires and shootings. The city owns the land and plans to offer those living there resources to transition into longterm housing.

"While the final court orders have not yet been issued regarding the Wood Street encampment, the City remains committed to expanding much needed affordable housing at the City-owned site," The Oakland administrators office said in a statement to ABC 7. "Once the City determines a date for the encampment closure, we will post notices at the location to give residents a minimum of seven days advance notice."

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Oakland said it can soon start moving 30 people into temporary portables on Monday. Encampment residents say they plan to stay there.

"This is the only place that I have ever felt like I belong," Blalock said. "It is the only thing I have left to fight for."

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