The Amador County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday, July 27 to authorize the clearing of a homeless encampment on county-owned property on Wicklow Way near Walmart.
Purchased by the county in 2009 as a potential site for a new county jail, what is commonly known as the Wicklow Way Project has gone undeveloped as the county changed plans and decided to expand and upgrade the existing county jail in the City of Jackson. The 200-acre parcel has remained unbuilt upon and has been used for cattle grazing over the past decade. It is now the site of one of the county’s larger homeless encampments (see related story “Amador’s Homeless Crisis” here), with the county estimating that up to 20 individuals are camping at the site with nine or 10 present at any one time.
The Board of Supervisors authorized county officials to not only to clear the area of all items, including trash and personal belongings, but to erect barricades on the property to discourage further access. During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board heard testimony from county law enforcement, fire and facilities staff, as well as citizens concerned over public safety. Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman described the efforts of the newly-formed Homeless Amador React Team (H.A.R.T) and Amador Fire Protection District Chief Ed White discussed the impact of fires caused by encampments.
Following the public testimony, the Supervisors unanimously authorized up to $40,000 in spending to address the encampment.
The Supervisors also approved edits to the county’s policy on dealing with the material cleared from homeless encampments, which will apply to the Wicklow Way Property and any future clearances. Items deemed junk and trash can be disposed of right away, while items identified as useful personal possession must be held by the county for a certain period of time, depending on the value, and people will be allowed to reclaim their property.