Santa Ana Riverbed Evictions on Hold

A federal judge has halted the eviction of homeless individuals from the Santa Ana Riverbed pending a hearing on Feb. 13.

"The court will not allow haphazard, hurried enforcement action in an effort to clear the population,” Judge David Carter declared Tuesday. The restraining order temporarily blocks Orange County sheriff’s deputies from arresting people who violate anti-camping laws.

Judge Carter made his ruling in response to a Jan. 29 lawsuit filed by Orange County Catholic Worker. The plaintiffs argued that Orange County and city officials have forced hundreds of people to leave the riverbed without providing an adequate means of alternative shelter.

County Counsel Leon Page would not discuss the merits of the legal case. However, he said officials look “forward to discussing positive solutions that will benefit all stakeholders, including the population encamped in the Santa Ana riverbed.”

Public officials have said the evictions are necessary to protect the public’s health and safety. During a cleanup drive along the southern part of the river last fall, the county collected 315 tons of trash, over 4,500 needles, and nearly 4,000 pounds of biohazard waste, ranging from urine and feces to solvents and pesticides


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