Written by Angela Landes (News Writer)
The intersection of Highway 1 and River St. has been a historic area of city response to the housing crisis for many years now. In the past, the famous Ross Camp (which sheltered approximately 300 people) at a time was swept and bulldozed after complaints from businesses and other residents. However, now there are plans to sweep a current camp that was formed because the city scattered people from Coral St. early on during the pandemic.
About 100 people live outdoors in this area along the highway shoulder, which is significantly less than before the recent rain and flooding. Many have stayed, however, due to having nowhere to go. The city council voted almost a year ago to secure funding for a project to expand this highway, which would require making the residents along with the highway to leave. This project has not yet begun, but there is pressure on the city and its contractors to begin the project to not lose funding as the end of the fiscal year approaches June 1.
There has been very little public information released regarding this project, but it has come to the attention of the public due to certain anonymous government employees who have mentioned efforts to go forward with this expansion in conversation with Santa Cruz locals. “It is an interesting situation,” says Tyler, a local who frequents the camp for first aid distribution. “Many people have already moved away, and the people who remain seem too tired to fight this. While you might expect this to become a controversial and popular issue, most people living there seem to be inclined to leave the camp and their belongings before the highway expansion project even begins.”
There are many mixed reactions because of this project, however, there are still plans for the near future of eviction of unhoused residents.