Former Wood Street encampment residents move to another Oakland Caltrans lot

A group of homeless residents in West Oakland are moving into an empty Caltrans lot after getting evicted from the Wood Street encampment last month.

A fenced in parking lot at the corner of 34 Street and Mandela Parkway is becoming filled with motorhomes, tents and trailers.

It has not been an approved spot for unhoused residents by the city of Oakland or Caltrans, but homeless advocates are hopeful that will change.

"This needed to happen yesterday," said advocate Xochitl Bernadette Moreno. "It is imperative that the city and Caltrans strike an agreement and get a lease signed so these residents can have some assurance that they’re not just going to be pushed onto the next sidewalk, next week."

Caltrans workers showed up on Monday to document what was happening inside the fences at the lot.

A spokesperson confirmed it is in communications with the city regarding leasing available land for people experiencing homelessness.

Since the state began a large clearing of the sprawling Wood Street encampment below the MacArthur Maze last month, many unhoused residents have filled nearby encampments and streets.

"We’re trying to stave off larger issues that neighbors have concerns about," unhoused resident Lamonte Ford said. "I hope to see this spot as being a healthy environment."

Those who have already setup camp have developed a community agreement with rules to prevent illegal activity, fires, violence and trash. Organizers said everyone who moves to the lot will have to sign the agreement.

But some neighbors said a lack of security and oversight of those living there could cause issues.

"I would like a little bit more law and order about how we handle things," neighbor Kathy Kuhner said. "This particular lot backs up to everybody’s backyards on Eddy Street so a homeless encampment here would be pretty scary."

The city of Oakland did not immediately respond to KTVU’s questions surrounding the lot and potential lease agreement with Caltrans.

Housing advocates argue with ongoing evictions, a lack of services and unhoused moving from street to street, this is a better solution.

"We need safe places for unhoused people to exist," Moreno said. "We’re asking for wrap-around services to help people find pathways to permanent supportive housing."

Brooks Jarosz is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BrooksKTVU