Seven months ago there was another billboard on this corner. You might remember my Chase rant. Soon after my post, the offensive advertisement, “home ownership within reach in Oakland?,” was removed.
I see this corner every week when I take the 27th Street exit on my way to church. Each week the homeless camp spreads further out in all directions, new tents, more shopping carts, more hungry people, more debris. Does it make sense now to advertise that “Marijuana has arrived?” What’s next? Could we plant a different seed? Maybe just one mustard seed of hope?
After a month long break from blogging and church, I have returned. Pulling off the Grove Shafter freeway at 27th street in Oakland on the way to church, I was pleased to see that the Chase billboard has been replaced but it was disheartening to see the growth of the homeless camp. I missed the camp photo op so I guess I’ll have to come up with a 1,000 word blog post to describe the area. Just kidding.
But, I do have a couple of observations. Judging by the content of debris that oozes its way into the streets under the freeway, I suspect not all of the mess is the work of the homeless. It’s unlikely that car-less pedestrians with shopping carts are capable of hauling eight foot sofas and heavy appliances to the area. Someone is dumping their crap in the street at the expense of the homeless. What are these thoughtless trash dumpers thinking? Do they think their are providing comfortable beds for the homeless.? Do they think the homeless can tweak the appliance innards into working machines? Or perhaps they consider the shell of their old refrigerator to be a “tiny house.” More likely, they don’t want to pay the fees to dump legally. The issue becomes more complicated for the life of the homeless when the city comes by and blames them for the mess.
Meanwhile, under the freeway, off the street, there is a huge empty lot, surrounded by barbed wire topped fencing. Perhaps it would be possible to open the gates and allow this community to migrate over there? Lend them the area and responsibility to live their lifestyle without the burden of everyone else’s garbage. Add to their dignity with a couple of portables (yes, I mentioned before that there are problems with that). But how about this? Give them some maintenance responsibility and if successful provide this reward: Japanese shower.
Okay, enough of a rant. The photo above most likely has nothing to do with homeless. It’s about a dozen blocks away from the camp. I just thought it was an interesting piece of art. Or is it graffiti?