Residents of Kensington and Talmadge are asking the City of San Diego to clear out illegal encampments along Aldine Drive.
In recent years the canyons along Aldine Drive near Fairmount Avenue have provided temporary dwelling space for homeless people. Increased numbers of encampments mean increased trash and debris in canyons as well as potential fire hazards to homes above.
While City of San Diego crews have been successful in clearing out some encampments, it doesn't take long for the illegal lodgers to find a new site.
"The City has made a much appreciated effort to remove the reported encampments. Unfortunately, the transients did not move very far," a resident of Talmadge wrote to a code-enforcement officer, later posted on Nextdoor Talmadge, a community social-network site. "This email is to notify you that transients are now located in the ravine along the north side of Aldine, east of Fairmount [Avenue]."
"The property is heavily vegetated and allows transients to conceal their encampments. Transient encampments in this thick vegetation create an extreme fire danger for the community….
"We request that City Environmental Services remove these encampments and associated debris from their current location and take steps to prevent transients from relocating into other nearby areas. We recommend that the vegetation be thinned to eliminate hiding areas for encampments, and frequent foot patrols to discourage transients from using the area."
A code enforcement officer quickly responded to the message.
"Thank you for letting me know about the waste along this stretch of Aldine [Drive], and thank you for attaching photos detailing the location. Based on your map these areas are mostly on Park and Recreation parcels. I will go out there tomorrow to evaluate. From there I will work with Park and Recreation to remove the waste and clear out any vegetation we can."
According to recent statistics from the San Diego Housing Commission, there are an estimated 2400 people living without shelter, many of whom find solitude and escape hassle from police officers in San Diego canyons or along the San Diego River, the act of which presents a threat to natural wildlife and habitat, according to the city's Multiple Species Conservation Program.