Man seeks court order to stop San Jose from removing his trailer from encampment

One man living in a trailer near San Jose’s airport is suing to try and stop the city from removing his belongings from the property. San Jose began sweeping the encampment this month to meet a deadline set by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Earlier this month, the city of San Jose began its final phase of clearing out the encampment at Guadalupe Gardens as required by the FAA. The FAA concluded the area is not safe for people to live. City officials say they’ve been working with advocacy groups to help people living there get housing and other services, but Rudy Ortega says he’s fighting to stay put.  

"This is the only place where we’re not in your neighborhoods. We’re not in your backyard. You have to come out to see us," Ortega said.  

Ortega filed for a temporary restraining order with the U.S. District Court on September 7. He says he’s been living there in his trailer for about a year and has been unhoused in the same area for seven years. Now he’s asking a judge to stop the city from removing his trailer and other belongings. 

"They promised to fix my vehicle. My vehicle is in operable. I can’t get that thing out of here and I need time. But they’re already threatening to demolish it," said Ortega.  

Ortega is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon and says he’s raising money to get the trailer fixed. He wants the court to grant him 30 additional days, so he can move.  

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"My caseworker only contacted me once and said, oh you’re going to go into a hotel that same day. Well I still have a trailer here. Hello? What am I supposed to do? Just leave it here. Yeah, just leave it here. No. I’m not going to leave it here. This is my money. My hard-earned money," Ortega said.   

We reached out to the San Jose City Attorney’s office about this case, but have yet to hear back. It is common for the city not to comment on pending litigation.