Homeless Camp or Park in Use?

“Seventeen people and five dogs hanging out in the vets park…[T]hey were there for hours…[I’]m torn…[I] know people need somewhere to be but it looked like a camp out in the middle of [Garberville]… I think maybe [T]ooby park would have been better spot for a gathering…[I]t is an every day thing…[I]t has become a spot for the drifters/homeless to sleep, drink beer, and be for the day.”

A resident of Garberville sent me the above photo and a note which I quoted from above. I, too, am torn. I sympathize with business people concerned that Garberville may be losing business because the homeless may give the town an “underworld” feel. I sympathize with parents who worry about the homeless offering drugs or being inappropriate with kids but the photo brings up a question for me (in fact, several questions)— What makes hanging at the park all day a nuisance and what makes it just enjoying the park?  Is it the large amount of gear that some have? I can remember as a young kid spending the day at a park.  There was beer for the grownups.  There were dogs.   What makes this gathering different and threatening?  Were folks at the park yesterday acting intoxicated?  Rude and obnoxious? In which case, couldn’t law enforcement deal with public intoxication issues as they come up? If those same folk were wearing clean clothes and had shorter haircuts would there be any outcry at their using the park?

But, I’m not there.  I’m not dealing with the issues.  It is easy for me to be relaxed as I don’t have a business or a child that could possibly be harmed.  Wouldn’t I feel more frustrated if I were there? Wouldn’t you?

I don’t have answers.  I just have questions.

Seventeen people and five dogs is that a party or a problem? Can we reframe the way we look at it or can we find a way to make the problem diminish?


(As a side note, if the orange fence isn’t working to keep out the homeless, could it please come down?  That thing is bug-ugly! And adds to the town looking derelict.)



  • well written kym…. i feel the same way as you… “I don’t have answers. I just have questions.”

  • …yet you support changes to your own local infrastructure like the Richardson Grove “Improvement” Project? People beget people, welcome to population growth.

    • I do support a lot of change to infrastructure here in Humboldt. If the county would just start with the pot holes on my road, for instance…. I’m less sure that the changes will bring an up-swelling of pregnancies in our area….

      • You’re unfamiliar with any of the old adages about potholes? When they fix the potholes, trouble will roll into town soon. When they fix the potholes for half the people, it means they’re going to piss on the other half even more. Etc. You all got your 4×4 trucks, right? Enjoy your seclusion, pseudo-hippie!

  • Looks to me like they have a right to hang out and enjoy. How are ya gonna tell the difference between homeless loiterers and people just out to have a good and restful time together. Gotta watch out for prejudice.

  • The Town square is turning out to be the yuppie park and they did promise facilities at first I think. That please don’t overstay your one hour sign is HELLA more off-putting than a porta-potty for the homeless’/ walkabout young people or homeless’ VETS hanging out in the vet’s park. With that disgusting fence…..
    Y’all count how many trees have been cut down in town cause someone claimed people were pissing behind them? In front of the church (how ironic), next to Calico’s……this town was OK 30 years ago now it’s starting to make me sick with our hypocrisy! How many of us arrived in a VW or with our thumbs back then? And looking as ragged to the locals as these kids now look to some?

  • I find the sign off-putting, too. Yet, the local business folk obviously feel encroached on and they are the ones there dealing with the situation. They obviously know more than I do. To me, a toilet and a shower would do more towards making Garberville seem hospitable than a funky orange fence and a sign but I’m not there dealing with the problems and I hesitate to get too sure of the rightness of my opinion when I’m not the one on the ground dealing.

  • a house in Garberville, a yard big enough to put a porta potty, private property, a sympathetic soul, a kind heart, one of these good people upset by the heartlessness of the “officials” and “higher up” THAT WOULD BE ALL WE NEED GET “GOING” AGAIN

  • There were 30 people in Demulling Grove at 3 pm two days ago, and their behavior was fine.

    Here’s the reality: with our proximity to 101, our pot reputation, our lack of a visible police presence and the depressed world economy, there will be street people, some living here and some passing thru, especially in summer.

    Trying to push these folks a mile out of town to a relatively isolated children’s playground sounds like a bad idea and is likely to be unsuccessful anyway. Some of those who want to manage Demulling Grove would like to include a surveillance camera along with the portapotty (no not IN the portapotty) so that behavior in this public place can be readily monitored.

    It’s interesting that most of our businesses welcome the Hells Angels to town every year, a group known to have heavy drinkers, drug users and violent criminals in its membership, because they spend money in town.

    Interesting that some of the business owners feel that only they have a right to weigh in on this street people/portapotty problem. I say, those of us who support them with our business, choosing to pay more at their stores than going to Staples or Costco or Ross, etc., are a vital part of this community, too, and our opinion on how to treat the street people should also count for something.

    • yes they welcome bikers spending $$$ in town,,,,spending is one of the core issues, if you make a purchase at a gas station you can pee no problem,,,

      • So, if we give vouchers for , let’s say a pack of gum at the gas station, then the problem will be solved?

        • I think the drug culture makes this end of the county feel underground and scarey to people that come threw here, and live here not a few houseless folks. They read about people that live in HOUSES killing each other for weed all the time. Using backhoes and shooting people and burying them with that equipment, that scares people. How many people do we have still missing in so.hum??
          If this town knew any history of the Hell Angels they would’nt be offering up our town to these folks, but the business people are money whores. The H.A.’s come with more warrents and wants and of yeah, crank!!! maybe in their crank cases….
          The houseless folks are afraid of all these creed growing, deisel doping people that want to take them back to their land and make land slaves out of them to work their crops.

  • Wanda De Justus

    Ah-some truth be-50-60-just Humboldt-70’s’who has the power–80’s camp & coke-90’s power plays-2011 who has the power-

  • It seems to me that there are 3, the business, the homeless and the do-gooders.
    the do-gooders appear to want to do good with the area around the businesses for the homeless, why is that ?
    why not “do good” for the homeless in your own front yard ??
    Even when a porta potty was paid for, by a “do-gooder”, it was placed, on county property, with out permits or permission.
    I personally am tired of the tactics such as name calling, shamming and blaming among others. I am the “laundry Nazi” how cool is that ? LOL
    my boss has been refered to several times as “Pam Van hatred” not nice at all, just to two off the top of my head.
    It was threatened that the homeless people would “hold it in” and put their human waste in paper sacks and then on the door steps of what ever businesses didnt agree with the “do-gooders” on the potty issue,,,,now please tell me how that would be helpful in any way to anyone.

    Then I read “but the business people are money whores” in reference to the redwood run and the $$ it brings to the town. well Im pretty sure the pottys are part of a larger permit required for the event. the bikers, a small number being H.A.(not bad guys,bad reputation) bring $$ here to our businesses. The Redwood Run is a long standing event that brings invited guests to our town, they come by invitation of the run, they patron our shops, bars, restaurants, motels and economy as a whole. Why did that “do-gooder” have to turn so quickly into a name caller ?? I think she is mad about the potty, but still that’s no reason to call any one the names I have seen in print from her. She is trying to help people by “doing good” yet the ones she hurts along the way, seem to be of no consistence.

    I personally have not met anyone who sought out and could not find it, the “homeless” in our town have a bit more to do with “choice” than with “chance”
    If you want help the homeless then by all means do so,,,in your own front yard.

    • “”I personally have not met anyone who sought out *HELP* and could not find it “”

    • Thank’s for your reply rebecca. I agree wit you about belittling others to try and get stuff done. It usually seperates rather than unites. I am guilty of saying pretty bad things when I have been mad or frustrated, so I can’t go down that road to far. But I am glad you are still a part of the conversation even after having been called names.
      Now back to the issue of getting a porta-potty. I am in favor of this as I think as a town (my community) it’s a problem that needs to get addressed and fixed. ( I am a homeowner that bought a peice of land with 30 five gallon buckets of human shit to deal with…so i do understand) ( I consider myself to helping heal the piece of land I am on) …
      Many folks that are in favor of this do stuff in their own backyard also, but to be honest, this is a community problem. Just like we fund raise for schools,hospice,WISH, etc. we need to have a bathroom. It will be good for our town. Don’t you think so? Do you have any ideas on solving this? I am hoping for a permit for the porta-potty and then a permanant restroom in town. Thats my thoughts.

      • does anyone really know what happened to the bathroom idea, in the town square ? I have my suspicions, from things I have heard but I do not know for sure. That would be my 2nd questions. my 1st question would have to be, who is this bathroom really for ? really ? when you get down to it, bottom line, no adding in, or taking away,,,,,,,,,, because placing a porta potty, in a known homeless hangout, then trying to say it was for tourists was just, well, asking the general population to think one thing, when some of us knew the truth. It is so hard to explain in print, omg,,,,,,so please lets try to be clear

        • In my thought the porta-potty that should be placed ASAP, at the Vet for peace spot , would almost exclusivlly be used by “homeless” or street people and there nothing wrong with that at all in my thoughts. A permanent restroom, that would take awhile to build would be for everyone, as in my thoughts it would be more centrally located and the location and use by buisnes owners customers, folks hanging out in town, tourist , people who have to “go” in general. I picture it at the town square, with regular maintinance and closed during the night. This of course is just one person thoughts and would love to hear thoughts towards going to a solution. (Please excuse spelling)

          • why do you and others keep pushing a homeless hangout right across the street from where I work ?? I deal with issues and see things I really shouldn’t have to, because they are there all the time. I will write more later, I have to go to work now BUT I really dont get it, provide them a came out of town some where please….right there in town is not the spot for a homeless camp

  • a bathroom, restroom, public, would have to be cleaned, watched and even locked at times, there may need to be a fund for a someone to watch over it…….the guy who cleans town is not doing a very good job so he may already be over worked,,,,,maybe cameras ?? is that a bad word ? anyway when I read my last reply there were no answers just more questions, soooooooooo here are my thoughts,,,what about yours ??

    • I must have been writing while you posted, but my answer is still the same , and I think that cleaning etc goes with any town/city that has a restroom. I think if a location could actually be agreed on it would be the first miracle! 🙂

  • where do you live ? Do you “get to”/”have to” look at this park-homeless hangout every day like I do ?
    I can not speak for others but I can and have a responsibility to speak for my children.
    I have 6, 2 of which are teens right now and get “hit up” by these homeless folks hanging out around all kinds of places in town.
    I don’t feel safe even letting my teens hang out waiting for the movie to start, much less after the movie gets out.
    Homeless have tried to sell my teens pills, weed, they have begged from them just about every time either one is in town.
    I am blessed with good smart children BUT I worry a lot for all the kids in town……

    When the Wild Horse was open, people had to walk thru a cloud of pot smoke just to get by on the side walk,
    my sister took pictures of some homeless, kicked back with their dogs, blocking the sidewalk smoking pot,
    while an elderly woman with an oxygen tank had to go out in the street behind the parked cars to get around them.

    If we give the homeless a “camp” right there in town, with a potty and all, their sense of entitlement will only grow and its bad enough all ready.
    I am not now nor will I ever be in favor of putting in a special potty just for the homeless, they can “go” in the potty at town square (that I am in favor of)
    A public restroom, while it would be helpful to the greater good of Garberville and surrounding areas,
    CAN NOT be just for some and not others……it would have to be for everyone.
    one restroom, one location, and yes I have a pretty good idea that the homeless-drifters will make it hard to keep it nice,
    BUT that’s just what they do, that’s why it has been so hard to get this going.
    Its not about hate or some sense of “being better than”, Its about some people ruining it for others.

    (my spelling is so bad 🙁 and my spell checker sends me the wrong words tehe ): ) please excuse my mistakes in above reply s and responses……..Thank you

  • well, I know that the argument about a restroom seems to lead to ,”if we put a porta potty it will bring more homeless. Since there isn’t a porta-potty we won’t really know, but with the nicer weather we will have the usual increase of all kinds of homeless/street people. And they are going to the bathroom somewhere. Since it would take a long time to build a restroom , it seems like a reasonable idea to provide a place for people (weather their homeless or not) a place to go. I mention the Vets location as it seemed to be a posability with a little bit of support. My ideal place would be in town for everyone and maintained.
    Maybe one of these days it will happen. And thank;s to those who may be working towards this behind the scenes.

    This meeting will be held at the Vet’s Hall in Garberville on Friday,
    Oct. 7 beginning at 6 p.m.


  • First solve and control the problem, then deal on a case by case basis with the chronic homeless transients. Adding to their comfort will increase their numbers, this has already been proven in other towns. Permit camping, being drunk/drugged in public and there will be more of it. Add trespassing, loitering, panhandling, theft, assaults, and you have an idea what will continue and what will arrive. The Sheriff’s Office is the legally responsible agency to help the business owners and tapayers deal with this problem. Let them help by asking them to and they will come in and help solve this issue which is growing and costing business and causing a feeling of unease for people in town.

  • don’t drive-hope it’s a good meeting-

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