Newly formed Oakland homeless encampment on Caltrans property cleared

A surprise sweep of a newly formed homeless encampment on state property has forced some unhoused West Oakland residents to move – yet again.

Dozens of Caltrans workers and California Highway Patrol officers surrounded the fenced in Caltrans maintenance property at 34th Street and Mandela Parkway on Wednesday.

Homeless residents had relocated to the lot just days ago, after getting cleared out from the sprawling Wood Street encampment.

Caltrans said they broke in and changed the gate locks, and it is now securing the property.

At least 10 RVs, several trailers and other personal property were removed.

"You can’t do that without giving them an alternative. You’re placing them in danger," said attorney Osha Neumann. "Government is supposed to protect you. Government in this case is endangering people."

Caltrans had said on Monday it was in talks with the city of Oakland to potentially lease the site.

Homeless advocates say the city and state have failed to fund solutions and instead, created a cat and mouse game.

Some activists put up a fight early Wednesday, resisting police and work crews from gaining access to the lot. At least four of them were arrested.

"We’re not trying to be difficult here," said homeless advocate Nick Goyhenetche. "If these people weren’t in this empty lot, they’d be in the neighborhoods. People have to go somewhere."

The city of Oakland said it has opened a small RV site on Beach Street. It’s land owned by Caltrans and leased by the city.

A spokesperson also told KTVU the city is looking to lease at another Caltrans lot for a larger intervention, but did not provide specifics.

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Caltrans said it would lock down the maintenance lots to prevent re-entry.

"This is like the fourth eviction in two weeks," unhoused resident John Janosko said. "What they’re doing, it’s not working. It’s destroying people’s lives…and costing taxpayers’ resources and money."

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