Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Haven report


As you remember, the Placerville City Council closed down its legal homeless encampment called Hangtown Haven this fall, in part because it claimed, “The homeless encampment was attracting out-of-county homeless to the area even though Hangtown Haven did not admit non-Placerville residents.” Those of us working with the homeless knew that this was a fallacious argument, but no one could prove it. Everyone agreed that the only “proof” of this would be the crime rate; however, all we had to rely on was George Neilson, the previous police chief, who showed us his records that indicated that the city’s crime rate dropped the month that Hangtown Haven opened in July of 2012 and stayed down as long as he was chief.

However, the City Council did not buy into these facts and continued to deny that the crime rate was actually down in our county because of Hangtown Haven’s existence. I wonder how the City Council members feel now that proof has just surfaced that Chief Neilson was right. In a study done by the California Department of Justice and just released by the Public Policy Institute of California, of the 13 counties surveyed in California, 10 had an increase in crime in 2012 and three, led by El Dorado County, had a decrease. The average increase of the 10 counties was 7 percent, and Santa Clara County was the leader of the pack at 20.4 percent. El Dorado County (however) bucked the statewide trend by decreasing its crime rate by 11 percent. Did Hangtown Haven actually contribute to the decrease in crime rate?

The report had an additional fact that was very interesting. The second county that had a crime decrease (10 percent) is Placer County, our neighbor to the north. This point is significant because people in Placer County have been working with us to develop their own Hangtown Haven to house their local homeless population.

It’s significant that the only two counties reported in California that had a significant decrease in crime in 2012 were the two counties that provided some type of shelter for their homeless population. Of the 13 counties surveyed, the following were included: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento and Contra Costa among others. This is certainly a meaningful representation of the population of our state.

It is too late to save the 40 or so residents of Hangtown Haven. They are dispersed into our community; some are in the rotating shelter system, and some are camping illegally in the forests, parking lots and shopping centers of our town and county. It is perhaps heartening to them to learn that they were right. Their encampment did not cause an increase in the crime rate in our community as claimed, but, in fact, may have contributed to its decrease. Now without a homeless shelter, perhaps we can join the other counties in our state and watch our crime rate escalate.

President, Hangtown Haven

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 58 comments

  • Fran DuchampDecember 31, 2013 - 3:47 pm

    This was just sad. I hope some shelter came to those people that did nothing...I hope their New Year is better. Im waiting to see what is going to happen in the area that said the Haven created the "homeless" problem.

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  • residentDecember 31, 2013 - 4:02 pm

    Rumor has it the city and county are negotiating to export the homeless to another county.

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  • JimBoDecember 31, 2013 - 7:18 pm

    Since closing the Hangtown Haven, I now have the homeless deficating on my property - Thank you City Council!

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  • Poo BearJanuary 15, 2014 - 2:18 pm

    Jimbo, I don't think it's the homeless.

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  • EdwardJanuary 01, 2014 - 3:40 pm

    The problem is that the City Council will only consider the people who will support their Re-Election, not the people they represent or the benefit of the community...

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    Art, your credibilty as fact finder in regards to the homeless is no better than Al Gores is for global warming. The horse is dead stop whipping it.

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  • Dink LaneJanuary 02, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    The homeless do not suddenly disappear.... they go some where.... So the Haven 'horse' maybe dead..... but the Homeless are still very much alive..... and burying your head saying "I can't see them" doesn't solve the problem.... We need some adults to come in the room...

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  • AT1022QDJanuary 02, 2014 - 4:25 pm

    1022, What are the correct facts?

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 6:12 pm

    City of placerville : Police Chief Report. Habitual Transient Offender Contacts on the Rise.......go to City of placerville website it's right there for all to read. Now someone direct us to Arts "facts"

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 6:19 pm

    Take off your rose colored glasses and read put away the liberal smoke and mirrors and manipulation. Just read.

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 6:25 pm

    Dink, you knew it was there yet you say nothing? Do you think ignoring the facts makes them go away? You must be in your second childhood.

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 6:48 pm

    Art pointed to a report by our old Chief he claims stated that city crime went down when hth inc opened the chart clearly shows a short dip coinciding with the coming of fall and the winter shelters opening. look at the following year a nearly 2/3 jump. Then he points to COUNTY stats and claims credit for County crime falling. He lead his letter stating hth inc were all residents yet in a MD profile was a young man who came from washington to Cool to stay with a friend but the friend had not gotton permission from his landlord so he stayed across the street from hth "with the tweakers and the drunks" is THAT how you establish residency? He claimed he had short term memory loss and couldn't remember his birthday yet he found hth established residency and stated if it closed down he would live illegaly in the woods as "he doen't like shelters". The only thing missing was violin music and flying unicorns grow up dink don't you know when you've been had?

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 7:22 pm

    When they closed hth they left a huge pile of garbage that is still not cleaned up. Is that your clean orderly shelter? or just people who have gotten what they could and then just scattered because there was nothing in it for them anymore? After the city cleared the hill side the real damage was apparent and still is! I don't see the mission people out there cleaning it up no, i see them sunning themselves sitting on the hill as if to say "it's not our trash, why should WE pick it up" If the hth wanted to be part of the solution they would not have shook their heads and said "thats not us it's them" truth is hth was and is only looking out for themselves and their needs. I stand behind the City Council and their difficult decision. And will remember them at the polls.

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  • BailBondsRUsJanuary 02, 2014 - 7:31 pm

    1022 ..... What should happen to homeless people?

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 7:44 pm

    The missing state grant money should tracked down used for what it was meant for. These people need real structure and held to certain goals and achievement in real houses with kitchens so they can see progress and real hope for themselves not pidgeon holed into a gated compound led by untrained self appointed "social engineers". in tents and portapotties with one shower per week. and campfire songs. These are adults! Treat them accordingly!

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 8:06 pm

    I hold no ill will toward hth only the people that are not up front with their "clients"for lack of a better word and exaggurate the benefits and downplay the negatives all the while running a website soliciting contributions but giving no clue as to what it will be spent on. Go to the website there are balloon links blocking most of the text. But no question where the link to contribute is. The amount of snap and likely SSI SSD and veterans benefits should afford most at least minimum living standards they may have to share a kitchen or bath but it wouldn't be an indefinate camping trip. And perhaps they would learn independence and selfreliance, and maybe even pride!

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 02, 2014 - 8:23 pm

    I wonder how the first people who came over to create a life in America first started? Im almost sure there were no five star hotels...but im getting older--and maybe ive forgotten our history as well as others. The Haven is was blamed for so many problems outside of what it was. It was successful.. and it is gone. There is land here in El Dorado--something could be done. To go further to say this was not humane to begin with? The people who had to leave --felt secure--had formed a "community"--they had bonded--that is a "healthy" start as opposed to nothing. The graph and the article that people keep sending me to--has nothing to do with the Haven itself. And for those of you saying that the upper room is still there to help--for how long? Some people want different things in that area --Im waiting to see what happens in that area.

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 8:24 pm

    In the hth closing down story Ken was going to house sit until June. Rebekka had found housing in private home. A number of people secured jobs in Arizona. Art would have us believe that they all scattered to the four winds to be eaten by wolves. I'm sure some are going through hardships but until they get real help they will always be victims of themselves and those that would take advantage of them.

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 02, 2014 - 8:49 pm

    1022 This story was printed in many National papers...the City wanted everyone to know what kind souls they were. And then the plan worked--that threw everyone off balance. My favorite paper is the LA times...they think people up here whining about 300 homeless is interesting--because the inner cities have thousands upon thousands of homeless. It will get worse here before it gets better. And the problem had nothing to do with the Haven. The Haven is gone. Now everyone is going to watch what happens. They are watching the City Council--was it right or wrong. The City Council invited everyone to watch...the story is still out there...because other places are trying. We claimed to be first at this idea--we marketed it that way. We are now looked at as "giving up" on a program that worked. Just an observation. I would allow the Haven to rest in peace and move on to those other ideas. Getting any money back--shhhhh...that is never going to happen. Grants are becoming the "new" joke. Would you like a grant from the such and such foundation? Sure... remember when my cousin helped your cousin...way back when--could you ask everyone to vote "yes" to our proposal please? Even though our cause is not life or death...we could use those new curtains for our wine parties. And we always donate $ 200 a year for the kids that have nothing. So we do our civic duty. Grants. Let the Haven rest in peace. Or bring it back to fight. But limbo seems senseless.

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 8:46 pm

    Fran, many were told to leave hth because they screwed up. We were never told because as soon as they did they weren't hth anymore they were the "other homeless", point being you can't host a party that gets out of hand because of crashers then tell your neighbors "it wasn't my guests we'll party anytime we want" real neighbors don't do that and surly won't be very popular in the neighborhood. I would use the cat lady analogy but i think you get the point.

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 02, 2014 - 8:57 pm

    People are still fighting for the concept--so it means something to someone. Art has something he wants to say. when I had something to say--many "big shots" went against me...I didnt care--I knew I was right. I dont know Art. He seems to be fighting for what he believes...since the Haven is closed...and it is not coming back. People are watching the area--and what will happen. they watch the news to see if the homeless went away....they watch to see if it had anything to do with the Haven. <-----we now realise the problem was not the Haven after all. Maybe he doesnt care if you dont agree with him. He has the right to go to print with his comments.

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 9:22 pm

    Fran, I agree when blocks of grant money are filtered through "nonprofits" all the "costs and expenses" are paid first and administators and consultants etc don't work for free if the money goes through enough hands there are only crumbs left for the original grant purpose a kind of "sharing the wealth" and the money is basicaly laundered. Perhaps the county should appoint a homeless czar to be held accountable for any misappropriations. The problem with the media coverage was that one would contadict another to where you didn't know who or what to believe, but when I read Arts letter claiming credit where not due and knowing the stats well I don't trust them or their message anymore.

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  • 1022January 02, 2014 - 9:26 pm

    Art has every right to decribe the world as he sees it as do I and you Fran.

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 02, 2014 - 9:29 pm

    1022 yep :)

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  • Dave M.January 15, 2014 - 10:18 am

    12 out of 23 comments = This topic appears to be a hot button for 1022. Figures lie and liars figure. Check your facts. Watch the City Council & BOS videos. HTH was a success until the screwed up government miscreants intervened and failed miserably to provide a suitable alternative.

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 10:23 am

    Dave I don't need to watch the videos I was there were you?

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  • MelodyJanuary 15, 2014 - 10:34 am

    1022: We will always have the poor amongst us...but for the grace of God go I. Did you ever actually tour HTH to witness for yourself how clean & highly organized this group of exceptional individuals truly are? Did you ever speak face-to-face with Art, Rebecca and the many others who work closely with outreach ministries? Are they any less deserving of the same rights and basic needs as you or me? For that matter, what have you personally done to contribute to the solution instead of the problem?

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 10:55 am

    I was speaking to the article. Edwards stated: The homeless encampment was attracting out-of- county residents to the area even though HHinc. didn't admit non placerville residents. Read comments #8 and #11 these are taken from police reports and the mountain democrat I didn't publish them. When you Bend the truth it makes all your statements suspect.

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 11:12 am

    Melody, I hear you and Art saying this is a solution to homelessness in EDC the fact remains that this was a temporary solution for a small group of individuals that set themselves apart from the "other" homeless. Do you think a website marketing their "brand" didn't attract out of area homeless?Don't you think they would want the same chance? How many do we have room for?

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  • Once Homeless MyselfJanuary 15, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    To Dink Lane Melody Fran and Evelyn, thank you for your concern and compassion. After being discharged from the military I chose the option of living in my car for a couple of weeks until I saved enough money up to pay rent. It didn't scar me and I learned a lot about myself. I must admit that I would never see a scenario where I would want to be isolated in a city park and labeled as homeless. Many Homeless do not view themselves as victoms. I have brothers who do not want to live under the rules and constraints of today's society. They are very happy picking up odd jobs and living in tents year around. They actually poke fun at their brothers who have chosen to work 40 hrs and pay their bills. They also agree that they can't understand why someone would want to live in a city park in Placerville. There are many camp grounds in the area that close for the winter. I wonder if the City Council or State for that matter, would be willing to subsidize camp sites for those they designate willing and eligible? Places like Sand Flat Camp Site are technically closed this time of year and are free. Why not make it transient friendly?

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  • MelodyJanuary 15, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    Well over a decade ago I served as the EDC Community Services Coordinator (Section 8, WIC, Mental Health, Outreach Ministries, Food Banks, Law Enforcement, Marshall Medical, etc.) At the time EDC was providing minimal services then sending homeless to Sacramento County where they had more sufficient financial resources to assist the poor. That was one of the lowest paying but most rewarding positions I ever held. That is, until EDC budget cutbacks eliminated my position. The EDC homeless situation has somewhat improved since then due to greater emphasis on coordinating mental health, public services and outreach ministries. The Hangtown Haven residents proved the old adage, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." It was a giant step in the right direction that ended too soon with two steps backwards for EDC government leadership.

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 15, 2014 - 1:09 pm

    I believe with all the land...a "ranch/farm life" could be set up for the homeless. the animal shelter could go onto the same lands...teach people skills. Home Based business can be taught there as well. I know people that would help teach "skills" for that would give up time to help people learn how to build small structures. (the Habitat program works--because the homeowner participates.) Let people have dignity--they are already suffering. What a learning experience the county could provide...for other areas across the USA. Humans will organise in small communities--it is natural for us--we are social animals. Set time limits to encourage people to move toward being on their own. Set up computers for those that want to go back to school on line....If I had any money--it would go toward something like this. Down in Mexico--I would teach the little ones to read in english...started with four--ended up with sixteen by the end of the summer. We have homeless people in the hundreds of thousands here in the USA. Someone needs to think outside the box...soon.

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 15, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    Once Homeless Myself, Im sorry I do not know the answer to your question. I also do not understand why public lands are cut off to some. I have been reading where some families are living in the wilderness by themselves with children--successfully...they are not bothering anyone and are thriving. (not everyone wants to live next to many) Myself--I would think that if land is public...such as the would be free. But I just dont know.

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  • Once Homeless MyselfJanuary 15, 2014 - 2:26 pm

    In our county all publicly owned campgrounds are closed during the winter months. The roads are barricaded and the facilities are locked up. There is also a 14 day maximum policy for people to camp at one camp ground. Designate one camp ground that is closed for use. Supply a shuttle to and from cite to Placerville. Allow temp workers an area to seek employment near Home Depot. No one would be breaking any laws. No one's privacy would be violated. And a community service would be filled. That's better than a human zoo down town.

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  • MelodyJanuary 15, 2014 - 1:46 pm

    Art, OHM and HH residents - The fact that Placer county is emulating the success of HH speaks volumes. It also speaks volumes about the disgraceful lack of EDC's leadership, compassion and common sense. Hang in there. I'm confident there are abundant blessings in store for ya'll in the new year.

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  • can you spell corruptionJanuary 15, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    I love it that 1022 keeps telling us to read the police reports. Ummmmmm. 1022 They are just as big of liars as politicians. Especially in EDC. So checking the police reports tells me absolutely NOTHING.

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  • got to start somewhereJanuary 15, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    I feel sorry for the people that believe that everyone is corrupt and on the take. And there is no ethics or laws. I can only hope that they believe that they're the last honest person. And not trying to justify their life through moral equivalency. I believe that our society is inherently good. And the vast majority of people do good things every day. Including government employees and yes even politicians. But not lawyers... OK for the lawyers out there maybe 1 or 2 good ones in our community. Honestly probably just one but I haven't met them all yet.

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    Can you spell corruption thats what you say until you dial 911 to report an assault or burglary. Art has contradicted anything published that does'nt fit his agenda. No one has addressed his statement that ALL Hhinc. are placerville residents.I have seen two profiles published in THIS paper that say otherwise. Are the out of area early release convicts automatic residents because they have filled the time requirement? If so it doesn't seem very exclusive and a moot point yet Art and others bring it up every time they speak.

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  • Dave M.January 15, 2014 - 4:37 pm

    1022 - Seems your alias should be 5150. Art was the President of HHinc. He knows what he's talking about. Plus since when has the MD told any of their stories straight? They're just as crooked as the rest of the bunch. Geeesh!

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  • Hangtown JayJanuary 15, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    Art states this claim was a lie: “The homeless encampment was attracting out-of-county homeless to the area even though Hangtown Haven did not admit non-Placerville residents.” Art,how are YOU determining whether this is false? I know a relative who showed up in Sacramento city as homeless in June/July 2013 and one of the Sacramento government folks directed them to Hangtown Haven. Like a lot of folks near Hangtown Haven, I have sympathy for the homeless. But unlike those NOT in the area, I'll at least be honest and say "Let us find a solution NOT next to my house." For those who think Hangtown Haven was the solution, have you volunteered property near your homes?

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Ok Dave explain this." we don't use tax dollars we are self supporting" Was that supposed to mean no tax dollars? Who paid melodys salary? Who paid for the Human services to be at a meeting set up for hhinc residents TWICE but no one showed at first they said it was because some hhinc had to work. THEN it was reported that the counsel told them not to because it was old information. HOW WOULD THEY KNOW THAT IF THEY DIDN'T SHOW UP! Does anyone in their right mind think that the hhinc website, DIDN'T attract out of area homeless? How about the endless KCRA, SAC BEE, LA times, and likely international articles written about this "success" in Placerville CA. what planet do you live on? It's as if your speaking to five year olds about five year olds. I have done my research i suggest you do yours.

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 5:03 pm

    Dave these were profiles written by Rebecca and Wendy. Now evrery one is a liar but Art. Geez what's it take for you to think for your self?

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 5:29 pm

    Melody i find your attempt to SHAME our elected officials and anyone that disagrees with Arts obviously misleading LTE troubling. You haven't refuted anything put forth that contadicts your agenda. Not surprising though from someone in the homeless "industry".

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  • Upper Broadway ResidentJanuary 15, 2014 - 7:11 pm

    Hearing about the Hangtown Haven is getting really old. Everyone needs to let it rest. My husband and I are moving on to getting the Upper Room closed and that creepy Mercy Way Church closed down.

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  • DJanuary 18, 2014 - 6:44 am

    I am so glad to hear that. And yes it is getting VERY old.

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  • BobJanuary 15, 2014 - 8:31 pm

    It's looking like 1022 is 51-50 for sure. Nasty. Don't dignify his remarks with a reply.

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  • observerJanuary 15, 2014 - 8:52 pm

    Roger that.

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  • 1022January 15, 2014 - 9:41 pm

    That's ok bob and observer I don't speak sheep.

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  • Dee#1January 15, 2014 - 9:57 pm

    Frank, please remember that I am in your corner on this. The HTH was an attractive nuisance that was making the neighborhood dangerous and unattractive. Most of the folks who wish it to continue do not live in the area and have no compassion for those that do.

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  • BobJanuary 16, 2014 - 9:44 am

    Dee, 1022 is really Frank? Glad the cat is out of the bag. Both of you should go take your meds.

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  • AdvocateJanuary 16, 2014 - 9:27 am

    Hangtown Haven was given 60 days to clean up and remove everything from the site. It was done within 14 days. I beg to differ with 1022 who should check their facts on quite a few issues.

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  • SFRJanuary 16, 2014 - 5:06 pm

    Advocate the fact that there is still trash strewn about the property tells me you have either no clue or are a liar and neither would surprise me.

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  • neighborhood watch.January 16, 2014 - 9:35 pm

    Advocate Art Edwards to article. NOV15 2013 "We have 60 days to move the structures" Im not talking about the structures but the trash. Understand that the area is being monitored to make sure this gets done. You don't want to make a bad impression on the next community. Placer county has my sympathies.

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  • SFRJanuary 16, 2014 - 4:52 pm

    Advocate your statement is easly disproven by simply visiting the site NOW! today RIGHTNOW! Oh I know your going to say it has been dumped since which is completely false. I drive by there every day and see three filthy matresses that have been there over a month.. If you tour the property beyond the entrance it's worse one and one half months later. you live in a dream world full of excuses and fantasy. When the city allowed this you should have taken responsibility for cleaning up after yourselves like a responsible resident would have.

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  • ObserverJanuary 16, 2014 - 5:35 pm

    Your right except it has't been 45 days it's been 60 days hmmmmmm.

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  • 1022January 16, 2014 - 5:20 pm

    Bob 1022 is not Frank and unfortunately for you they haven't developed a med yet that cures stupid. Thank you Dee for your comment it gives me hope that there is still sanity in this world.

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  • ObserverJanuary 16, 2014 - 5:27 pm

    Rodger That!

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  • ObserverJanuary 16, 2014 - 6:06 pm

    Upper Broadway Resident You are not alone. Many others feel the same way. I only hope that the upper room can continue to help people who are truly needy and not just be a drop off point for anyone who does'nt want to pay for a meal. The bus station has turned out to be just a place for loiterers. That recycle center also needs to be reconsidered. How much stolen copper and aluminum goes through there just to buy liquor and drugs? It may be completely legit but it should be watched closely.

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