Beginning approximately 1PM today, Wednesday 20 June 2018, cops cleared out the Shelf, a popular camping spot for homeless San José citizens.
The Shelf is on the Guadalupe Path, beneath the 280/87 interchange, whose conception is documented in Jan McDaniel’s master’s thesis Demolition of a San José Neighborhood. The novel I’m working on takes place right here, as does much of my real free time.
Was on my bike finally on the way to visit someone there, when the cops show up. Crews in trucks marked Tucker and Jensen came to pack up trash and whatever gets left behind. SJPD is known to impound and eventually destroy property during sweeps like these.
It is not totally illegal to sleep out in San José, which is a rare luxury in the area. However, a representative of the Santa Clara Water District confirmed by telephone today that it “owns” the entire Guadalupe River. Water companies in the city are known to frown on camping on their property, so the call to clear the Shelf could have come from them. There is also a restriction on sleeping in cars and “storing” vehicles on public curbs.
It’s a drag because the camp has held out for a solid six months, as peacefully as we can imagine without having seen it the whole time. A man I was talking to as a source for my novel was living there, though I did not see him when the sweep began , and now I’m not sure if I’ll find him again. We haven’t traded phone numbers. I would like to have shown him my appreciation better, even with just a beer or a sandwich.
Here’s some arty stuff I managed to squeeze out of my crap phone camera. Radioactive saturated groundwater escaping from a large bus stop in Chernobyl. Doesn’t really do the setting justice but the colors are cool.
Something about having all that water going under the freeway pylons seemed to give the pylons a meaning or at least aesthetic place that they’d never had before. Might as well take a picture, especially since this kind of weather won’t come again for almost 30 more years! I miss having my real camera loaded all the time, but lo, too many hobbies get expensive.
1. Looking over the emergency underground spillway, toward southeast, from the west bank near Children’s Discovery Museum. Those huge sugarcubes of rubble on the east bank are usually covered in tents and people’s stuff but they hit it a few weeks ago.
2. As above only looking due south.
3. From the east bank looking north. The furthest visible pylon is what we see in the topmost image above. The blade of the underground spillway wall is illuminated at left in the very back.