Orange County to Clear Homeless Encampments Along Santa Ana River Trail


Bicycling on the Santa Ana Bike Trail

Santa Ana River Trail is a Gateway to Orange County and Beach for Cyclists

Bicycling along the Santa Ana River Trail has been a popular ride for cyclists over the years. The Santa Ana River Trail was always a great place to ride to the beach and enjoy a car-free trail without having to stop at lights or for traffic.

In the past few years, the unfortunate rise of homelessness in Orange County has seen more homeless people make the Santa Ana River Trail their home and encampments have formed along the Santa Ana River Trail near Angel Stadium.

Bicycling on the Santa Ana Bike Trail

Map courtesy OCTA

Cyclists that once enjoyed cruising along the SART uninterrupted have had to ride through miles of encampments that have grown in recent years.

As someone, who has enjoyed riding to the beach on the Santa Ana River Trail the past 30 years, but hasn’t ridden there in the last few years, I watched with interest as friends photos from their ride along the SART popped up in my Facebook feed. It was a little shocking to see the encampments that had built up and seemed to go on for miles. For more insight, I read a few other articles that discussed the situation on KFI and LongBeachIze and watched the video below. I was also amazed to read that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department found 1000 stolen bikes at the encampment.

Local residents, businesses and cyclists have voiced their concerns about the encampments and now according to a recent article from the Orange County Register, their voices were heard as Orange County plans to clear the homeless encampments along the Santa Ana River Trail within the next few weeks.

Homeless Encampments to Be Removed

The Orange County Register explained, “Homeless people have been sleeping along the county’s flood control channel for at least a decade, but the encampments there have grown substantially during the past two years, a period in which homelessness increased by 8 percent countywide. The encampments have riled local residents, cyclists and business owners, who claim the homeless camp increased property crime in the area. That has included persistent complaints from representatives of the Honda Center and Anaheim Angels.”

The article said, “Within three weeks, Orange County officials plan to clear the county’s largest homeless encampment, an entrenched tent city along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim and Orange where several hundred people now live and sleep, the Register has learned.

Anaheim City Council members Kris Murray and Tom Tait and Orange Councilman Mike Alvarez said Thursday they were aware of the county’s impending action, with Murray saying it would come “within the next month or so.” Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer later confirmed that the county will clear the encampment on Jan. 22.”

Orange County Register Article

Donate to Homeless

If you would like to make donations for the homeless in Orange County, they can be made at the following organizations: City Net, Midnight Mission and Mercy House.

By Christy Nicholson, SoCalCycling.com