Those are photos of an encampment in a not-easily-accessible section of Camp Long. WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham has taken those photos — and others you will see later in this post — while monitoring the site on an almost-daily basis since happening onto it at Camp Long more than a month ago. His captions, counter-clockwise from top left: “(The) encampment … has grown in size along Camp Long’s northernmost boundaries as human waste layers thicken; Robins and other wildlife sift along the garbage to gather food as winter breaks; A sign posted no earlier than the afternoon of April 22 claimed its posting occurred April 17. (I have) been staking out the encampment since March 5th and found no posting as late as Tuesday morning on April 22.” More of Matt’s photos, a closer look at its location, and what the city told us about this, ahead:
Matt made that Google map to point out where this site is located. Here are more of the photos he has been taking there since last month, going back repeatedly in hopes of finding some of its occupants, to learn more about them and why they are there:
Clockwise from top left, Matt writes of those photos: “Human feces and garbage are strewn over a large area. Items in the refuse includes bikes, cell phones, strollers and food wrappers; A “No Camping Sign” stands at the entrance to the encampment; Beauty tries to poke its head out in the forest surrounding the human waste; (Another of the signs seen no sooner than April 22, though it was dated Aprli 17); Encampments are pushed further into unused portions of the park that are not designed for human traffic.”
Matt told us about this after seeing the signs on April 22; as has been reported in recent citywide media coverage of the controversy over how the city clears these camps, the mayor signed an order earlier this month allowing sites to be cleared after residents are given 72 hours’ warning, and he wondered if the people at this site would truly get that much notice, given the date discrepancy here. We started contacting various people in city government to try to find out more and finally on the second day (Friday) received a call back from Dewey Potter in the city Parks Department‘s communications division, to whom someone had forwarded our inquiry. She did not have information about the dating discrepancy but said the city would be trying a few more days to contact the residents of this camp before finally clearing it, which she said could be done as soon as today (which would be six days after Matt saw the posting). Though there is no way to tell if the site’s “residents” saw the posting, Matt says the blue-tarp tents that were in place the day before it appeared April 22, were taken down the next day. We will be following up on this to let you know what happens from here.