Governor Newsom Statement on Court’s Decision Blocking Caltrans from Continuing Vital Work Cleaning the Wood Street Encampment in Oakland

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement regarding today’s ruling by a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which extends an order temporarily blocking Caltrans from proceeding with their urgent work clearing the Wood Street encampment in Oakland:

“Today’s decision by the court will delay Caltrans’ critical work and endanger the public. Our roadways and highways are no place for individuals to live, and this encampment is risking public health and safety. The state provided $4.7 million in grants to the City of Oakland specifically to rehouse individuals at the Wood Street encampment.

“It is beyond time to meet this moment and address this challenge.”

Background:

The Wood Street encampment experienced 195 fires between March 2020 and March 2022. The most recent fire took place on July 11, 2022, burning several recreational vehicles and damaging a portion of I-880, resulting in the closure of a heavily trafficked interchange between I-880 and I-580.

Additionally, located near the encampment is the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), which has two high purity oxygen (HPO) plants as part of their waste water treatment. As referenced in the brief filed by Caltrans, “A fire that ignited an oxygen plant could create a catastrophic conflagration, and even if the treatment plant were merely disabled due to a fire, it would create an environmental hazard.”

Leaving this encampment causes unnecessary danger and risk to both the residents of the encampment, and the surrounding Oakland community.

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