Dunphy Park had typically been home to kayakers and an outdoor art festival, but the 35 unsheltered people who'd set up an encampment there were very unceremoniously given the boot early Tuesday morning.
It seemed not-very-Sausalito in late May when the rather exclusive Sausalito Arts Festival was cancelled because of a homeless encampment that had sprung up on the grounds of the host venue Dunphy Park. But it was really more of a “cause and effect” thing. People have been living on boats that weren’t particularly seaworthy for years at Sausalito's Richardson Bay, and when one of these blew up and sank in February, the fancy houseboat community declared they’d had enough.
The city of Sausalito has given residents of a tent encampment at Dunphy Park until Tuesday to leave but many campers have vowed to stay. https://t.co/MCsZpGZKQh— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) June 28, 2021
A few dozen of the displaced former houseboaters encamped at Dunphy Park, much to the dismay of the Arts Festival and the city of Sausalito. The city issued a 72-hour notice to clear out on Friday, and at roughly 6 a.m. Tuesday morning they made good on the threat, and the Chronicle reports that the clearing of the encampment got pretty contentious.
Sausalito police removed residents of a homeless encampment at Dunphy Park after months of mounting tensions.— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) June 29, 2021
The encampment was a community of around 35 people, including some young children.https://t.co/EpA2NPhHXF
“By 7:30 a.m., more officers arrived at the scene along with the bulldozer,” according to the Chronicle. “By 10 a.m., police were tossing the handmade signs into giant dumpsters. At least ten officers stationed themselves at different corners of the encampment as crews brought in fences. Residents of the camp began to shout at them, chanting ‘Shame on you, shame on blue.’”
UPDATE: Sausalito Police and public works are moving into the Peking lot in front of Dunphy Park camp. They removed the signs on the tractor and the dumpster the camp residents placed to stop the move. pic.twitter.com/MMXvVPuCPB— Lorenzo Morotti (@Enzomorotti) June 29, 2021
Additional video from the scene shows protesters “going limp” and needing to be carried off by police, law enforcement closing off the area with newly installed fencing, and the coup de grâce, a bulldozer just plain bulldozing peoples’ possessions.
Sausalito: Police cleared out the homeless encampment at Dunphy Park. It was a tense confrontation between residents/activists who refused to leave. A Sausalito police officer tore down the kitchen wall as they ordered people to vacate. pic.twitter.com/R5Js0G184v— Lorenzo Morotti (@Enzomorotti) June 29, 2021
According to a release from the city, “All members of the encampment are being offered individual assistance in moving their camp equipment and personal belongings in a manner that is safe, compassionate, and respectful.” That is not consistent with what we saw today. The former residents are being offered space at the city’s “designated transitional site” at nearby Marinship Park (seen at the top of this post), but given today’s events, that transition seems unlikely to go smoothly.
Image: City of Sausalito