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Dateline: April 26, 1999
Albany, California
photo of author at landfill. The city council in this small East Bay community has recently given notice that on June 15th, 1999, the 60 or so individuals who live at the old Albany dump will be formally evicted from their homes (keywords: urban camping, handmade, eccentric, shacks, squats, substandard housing, independent living) that they have constructed over the last 8 years or so on an abondoned landfill - originally created by the steady infilling of San Francisco Bay in the 60's and 70's with trash and construction debris covered with a thin layer of dirt. This manmade pennisula snakes out into the bay and creates a manmade lagoon, recently made into a nature preserve. This vast acreage of completed landfill was abandoned to mother nature to work her healing magic on the land. It's now a beautifully bizzare Kafkaesque landscape of trails and trees and scrub brush and jutting rubble, all interlaced with thick twisted steel rebar and rusting cables. It's a jungle out there, folks. This iPoet feature will attempt to document the events as they unfold, mitigate the negative effects on the individuals involved, and assist as possible in formulating workable solutions.

The title "People are Trees too" is an oblique reference to the recent $500 million Headlands forest purchase to save an ancient stand of redwood trees. We theorize that it's just as important to preserve our planet's last vestiges of ancient nomadic culture as it is her disasppearing flora and fauna. This Albany Bulb 'homeless encampment' may well be the last stop on Earth for some of the individuals who now find sanctuary there. (One wheelchair using squatter, Pat McMullin, was quoted in the East Bay Express weekly as saying, 'It won't be long before people like me are pushed into the sea.) These people have no place left to go. How can you help? Well, let's say that the services of a qualified arborist, and other idealistic advocates would be helpful in establishing the existence of a valuable stand of "sequoius humanus" on a large tract of composting garbage near Berkeley.

Also to announce a free public poetry reading will be held at the council pit ampitheater at the entrance to Albany Bulb landfill, every Sunday at 2pm, weather permitting, at least until the posted 'eviction' date of June 15th, to show support for finding a sane solution to the problem facing the residents there. And to provide opportunites for networking and organizing.
See: the Maps page
Email addresses for: moreinfo and volunteering

Features Index .
Robert the Rabbit


SF Weekly: April 16, 1999 Peasantville
East Bay Express (Berkeley): April 9, 1999: Edge City
Street Spirit (SF): April, 1999: Albany Plans to Destroy Homeless Camp - not online
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