An army of city workers from various agencies descended on San Francisco's biggest street camp yesterday morning and cleared out about 50 people and their various belongings, carts, trailers, and a community garden that had sprouted there. The camp hasn't been cleared for about three years and has been nestled under the 280 on-ramp at Fifth and King, and it's been the home of a number of meth addicts, at least one of whom told the Chron she'd be returning to sleep there and do her meth as soon as the social workers and cleanup crew left.

"They've got too many restrictions inside," says 21-year-old Tasha Ward. "I want to do my meth and mind my own business."

The camp was known to be rat-infested, and a manhole cover had been removed and turned into a big toilet.

Homeless czar Bevan Dufty says the reason for the clearing of the camp wasn't just to make the area prettier, but he hoped that some outreach could help at least some of those who were living there. Ten people were successfully placed in housing as of yesterday.

Jennifer Friedenbach criticizes the city's action, calling it "harassment" and saying that the city doesn't readily have enough housing available for all those people, so therefore it was pointless. The Appeal notes that many campers are expected to return today.

Caltrans plans to erect a sturdier fence around the area than was there before. We'll see if that works.

Sidenote: We've just received word also that the dog in this Chron photo, being played with by homeless woman LaShawn Giese, was stolen outside of a store on 19th and Valencia on Monday. The dog belongs to a woman named Deirdre, and luckily because of the sighting, the dog was ultimately returned to Deirdre this morning. Happy endings.