Written by Angela Landes (News Writer)
Last November, city manager Martin Bernal issued an executive order to evict the unhoused people living at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz, citing needles, voluminous garbage, damage of city property, and lawn damage among other things. During protests, blockades, and major public outcry during this attempted eviction, the Santa Cruz Homeless Union brought the city, city manager Martin Bernal, and others to court due to the sweep. After multiple hearings, Federal Judge Susan Van Keulen decided that the alleged reasons for eviction were primarily not true and that irreparable harm to the people living at the park would be caused if they were to be evicted. The restraining order passed and another hearing was scheduled and held for March 17th, which gave two months of safety to the campers.
This hearing was expected to end with either a long-term extension or a striking down of the restraining order, but both parties requested extra time to present evidence regarding the park since the city had offered to the court that a sanctioned camp managed by the city could be set up on the benchlands next to the park if the city could evict the residents of the park. The next hearing will be on March 30th, and the community awaits Susan van Keulen’s decision on the matter.