Homeless Camps Temporarily Abandoned

Lately the City of San Jose’s Falcon Cam is a bust. There’s no sign of Clara and Carlos, the peregrine falcons that have been nesting on the 18th floor of City Hall.  The nesting box showed empty, so last Saturday Fly headed over to Guadalupe River Park & Gardens and joined twenty birders for an early morning bird walk. The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society’s Janna Pauser, noting that migrating birds use the river for a flyway,  found us a red tailed hawk, hooded mergansers, black phoebes, yellow rumped warblers, flickers and finches galore, as well as a rare raptor known as a merlin, falco columbarius. Missing were the homeless sedentarius, a species that often can be found encamped on this three-mile ribbon of green running from downtown San Jose to Alviso.  None were seen because of the San Jose Police Department and Santa Clara Valley Water Districts’ Feb. 26 sweep.

In fact, the place looked practically pristine—the only litter Fly saw along the river banks were the yellow flyers, still stapled to the trees and bushes, warning of the action. Park staffer Linda McCabe says there are usually lots of encampments in the vicinity but the homeless don’t bother the flocks of park visitors. “It’s a never-ending battle to limit their presence,” McCabe says.  “The [police] post two weeks in advance and right before the sweep the homeless load up their shopping carts, walk to the shopping center on Coleman, wait until the police leave and then come on back.”

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. Glad to see the river banks are cleared, even if temporarily. Homeless belong in shelters, not on our river banks where an unsuspecting jogger or child can be victimized. Believe it or not many are inclined towards criminal conduct.

  2. #2. OMG.“homeless belong in shelters” Who is to determine where people should live? Where should rich people live? Should minorities not live on Cape Cod? Further, I think that the SJPD could use your skill to advise them what groups are “inclined towards criminal conduct”.

  3. Wow … way to dehumanize the issue there Fly. It’s one thing to take pot shots at the local politicians (as half of them are equally deserving of that honor). And it would be one thing if the story was framed as all the great work the City has done to house the local homeless or help them in this ailing economy. But it seems a bit small minded and petty, to praise the lack of homeless people near Guadalupe due to police sweeps … because rousting homeless people really solves the underlying issue … thank god we’ve “limited their presence” …

      We walk that corridor every week day morning to the airport. It is anything but pristine. It’s no wonder the Peregrines have left the neighborhood. This waterway of ours was listed as one on the trash trap rivers in the state that must be cleaned up “OR ELSE”.
      Years ago, I hunted Gray Goose Slough for ducks. It is the water way between the Cayote Creek and the Guadalupe in Alviso. On the Low tide I would venture along the high water line and found humanity in all its ugliest floating forms.
      The homeless are not the problem, We ARE the problem. We have become a throw away society. Billions of balls all made in some over seas country along with perfume bottles, plastic wachumacallits floating out to Alviso. In 100 years they will find Alviso and think Alviso was the ball capital of Silicon Valley and the world..
      My idea last week was to develop the islands along the water way from the county building and the airport, and have designated camp sites, some with free use for those that cannot affort the 20 bucks to camp.
      First of course Mayor Reed would have to clean up the waterway to not pay the penalties that will come with our inaction on the citie’s part. It’s a court order!
      Over the past 2 years we have not encountered any issues with the campers that frequent that greenbelt. They are not the issue here!
      I grew up on the banks of the Almaden, Guadalupe, and the Cayote Creeks. It is absotuley discusting to take a walk down one of our major water way, a stones throw from the county building to find every imaginable man made imported piece of crap, floating out to our beautiful San Francisco Bay.
      One can only imagine that we are only as Sick as our secreats. Our water ways and our lead ladened babies are our best kept secreats.
      Prestine? NO WAY!
      Sam, We leave the Athletic Club at 7:30 am to the airport. You are welcome to join us. It’s a nice 1 1/2 hour walk. Bring a camera. I’ll take a few tommorrow to post on this site.
              The Village Black Smith

    • i love reading the ramblings of people who refuse to see that homelessness is not a choice that all make some are forced by circumstance. What give any of you the right to judge another human being. Have you live in a tent or a sleeping bag listening to everyone calling you lazy? Which is such an untrue statement it makes me sick to hear it. you try moving you house every month. because your attempts to get into a shelter end in a epic fail. Mostly because with less than 1000 beds we have well over 20,000 homeless. Yes folks it is a small chance to get a bed for the night in a politically incorrect greed mongering shelter. Which is just after that state funding they can get for sometimes not even filling the beds because they play some game to kick out people they enjoy victumizing. So you want to judge someone you have no clue why they are there. Oh yeah thats right you believe us to all be a bunch of drug using and dealing losers. But wait isn’t that something that has funded certain unmentionable organizations through seisure. So sit up there in your luxury, calling the homeless uneducated lazy, drug users. but think of this while they have to constantly work on getting their next meal, and worry about when they will next be unseated from a temporary dwelling. due to the fact that the viscious cycle that now prevents them from getting a job to get out of that hole they ended up in. while everyone forgets that the flooding took a lot of the property many homeless had down the river. As for the river well i seem to remember that it was once poluted by a chemical plant that killed off the salmon that spawned there many years ago. Since it is so convient to blame the homeless there just remember one day the republicans will put us all in a tent somewhere, because they are to busy thinking of that green lining their wallets. The democrates of course don’t get to escape this either they have just as much blame being to weak to make a change rather than talk about it. So there you have it one of us stupid people actually does have the ability to speak their mind. Feel free to attack me in anyway, it will just show how pathetic you hate is, as well as show how soft that nerve i struck was.

  5. Napper-

    So we should allow anybody to build encampments anywhere they please at anytime?


  6. I say no and I applaud the ‘sweep’. Now you tell me where we should draw the line on these encampments?

    -David Hollis

  7. I was walking my 2 small kids along that Guadalupe trail when a homeless camper get out out of the water directly by us. He was completely nude and had been using the river as a bathtub. He had no regard for my children or others who were also using the trail. If this is typical of their behavior then great job SJPD. I will not bring my kids back their and would sure not feel comfortable using the trail if i were a single female.

  8. Napper: Since you opposed to housing homeless in shelters perhaps you could do your part and locate one or two you can put up in your home. I am sure it would much more hospitable than a cruel shelter. For that matter who is to say YOU should live in your home. Using your logic, perhaps you should move out and allow these disenfranchised to live in YOUR home. Or maybe we should pool everyone’s income and create large communes where everyone is equal. Sounds like you would love that.

    If you cannot even realize that many homeless are inclined towards criminal conduct perhaps you should go and see for yourself. I have been out there, spoken to many, and know for a fact that many are on probation and/or parole. Get a clue.

  9. As it happens I just finished reading Jack Kerouac’s Lonesome Traveler describing his days working for Southern Pacific as a brakeman on the steam trains in the 1950s. He says there were hobo jungles along the Guadalupe then. I’ve also read that in the 1930s hobos would come out of the jungle and cadge for handouts at the mansions on the Alameda. Jack London writes about hoboing in California in the 1890s, although he doesn’t mention San Jose specifically.

    Are there any old-timers here who can add more information?

    “Hobo jungles” then, “homeless encampments” now. I guess it’s been this way for at least 100 years, so the idea that there’s some simple solution seems doubtful.

    I believe the current strategy is to keep pressure on to keep the homeless out of the parts of the park used by the rest of us, and to prevent them from building semi-permanent shanty towns. I remember in the 1980s if you looked under the bridges at Taylor or Hedding, there was furniture under there—couches and easy chairs.

    I’d like to see the litter problem addressed because that’s a piece of the larger problem where some progress might be made.

  10. What laws were the homeless violating to allow the police to “sweep” them?  Don’t they have a right to be in that area? I did not know that the police were doing this. The homeless have not lost their rights just because they are poor.  I am outraged.

  11. To say “Homeless Camps Temporarily Abandoned” seems inaccurate, if your story is accurate.

    To say they were abandoned connotes and denotes that the homeless people voluntarily left them.

    If your article is factually correct, your headline should have read; “homeless camps temporarily eliminated”.

  12. Was I dreaming when I heard on KLIV and read in The Murky News that Clara had once again taken up residence @ The Taj Gonzal…and that she had a new Dude?

    Maybe she went on a hunger strike in favor of Little Saigon.

  13. Hey, JMC, lose fifty pounds and get rid of that mole all the gals talk about, and you can be in consideration.

    Get the mustard on that guy;‘s dog, willya?