Homeless people evicted and camps removed from meadow jn South Lake Tahoe | NevadaAppeal.com
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Homeless people evicted and camps removed from meadow jn South Lake Tahoe

Jeff Munson
Nevada Appeal News Service

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” A swelling homeless population that lived in the Upper Truckee Meadow was removed Thursday following complaints of harassment, loitering and last week’s stabbing of a Carson City transient.

Six unoccupied homeless “camps” were taken down from the meadow and Trout Creek bridge area this week, said South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Mark Hounsell.

In the past two weeks, several complaints from business owners and nearby residents had been filed with the police department, including three complaints following the Nov. 6 stabbing.

The victim remained in intensive care at Renown Medical Center in Reno with stab wounds to the chest and neck, according to witness reports.

The suspect, a parolee, has been charged with attempted murder.

It is believed that at least 10 people lived in the meadow, Hounsell said.

Clean Tahoe crews were sent to remove each of the camps. Among the things thrown out were tarps, tents, wet clothes, mattresses, bottles and trash.

“You definitely feel for these people. In some cases I’m not so sure they are living here by choice,” said Jeff Pollitt, field supervisor with Clean Tahoe.

The meadow has also become a health hazard, police and Clean Tahoe officials said. Among the rotting garbage are mounds of human excrement.

More than 100 pounds of garbage was collected by Clean Tahoe on Thursday, with at least that much collected from the homeless camps earlier this week, Pollitt said.

“I had some kids on BMX bikes stop me the other day and asked what we were doing and if we knew anything about the stabbing,” Pollitt said. “I told them that we were making the meadow safe for them to ride their bikes again.”

It is illegal to camp within the city on public land. Not only is it a health hazard but a fire hazard, officers said.

Because there isn’t a shelter at Lake Tahoe, many homeless fend for themselves in the woods. Law enforcement officers who deal directly with the homeless encourage them to leave Tahoe for warmer climates. Yet there are several who stay year-round, said Sgt. Brian Williams of the police department.

“Some of those who stay around know what to expect with the elements. You worry about those who’ve never stayed a winter here before because they are at the mercy of the elements,” Williams said.

Some of the homeless the officers have spoken with say they came to Tahoe looking for work and want to work, Williams added.

St. Theresa Catholic Church in South Lake Tahoe has seen a dramatic rise in the number of homeless needing help with food and clothing. Clothing vouchers for the Attic thrift store have gone up, as have the number of requests for food assistance, reports Beverly Sass, a church secretary.

“It’s been really tough on a lot of people,” she said. “There’s a lot of people out of work, and we’ve seen families who are either about to lose their homes or don’t have enough money to pay for food.”

– Contact reporter Jeff Munson at jmunson@tahoedailytribune.com.