The FAA deadline to clear a San Jose homeless encampment is now just one week away, and tensions were growing Friday as a few remaining people were refusing to leave.
Shaun, described as a local artist, was one of the final holdouts on Asbury Street in the encampment near San Jose International Airport. Earlier Friday, work crews began removing his belongings. It was little consolation to him that much of it was being tagged and stored, not dumped.
But when crews took his piano, he jumped on top of it, screaming and cursing.
“I think emotions are high because there’s no place for people to go, especially for people living in RVs,” said unhoused advocate Gail Osmer.
Some of the unhoused, in about 60 RVs, moved to an abandoned baseball diamond, dubbed the “field of dreams.” The field in Columbus Park is not part of the sweep, since it’s not in the SJC flight path. But the field is fast becoming overcrowded, posing a potential fire hazard, so many are worried the city will eventually clear them out again.
Richard Weilder, the man called the ‘gatekeeper’ at the field of dreams, sayd shutting it down would only make things worse.
“They’ll just go somewhere else. A lot of other places as a matter of fact, OK? This is one spot where everyone can keep an eye on us, OK? We’re doing fine,” he said.
Daniel Lazo of the San Jose Parks Department could not go on camera Friday, but pointed out 174 of the displaced people have been housed and that keeping the homeless off the street is the top priority. He added the situation at Columbus Park is still being assessed.
For Shaun, his standoff ended in handcuffs, and he was taken away forcibly on a gurney to be medically evaluated.
“It’s been kind of a mess, all morning and the outcome, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Osmer said.
Even though the city hasn’t decided publicly what to do with the field of dreams yet. Advocates said they’ve been told some people might get to stay, but only if they can solve the overcrowding problem, which means quite a few will still see their dream dashed.