• Giselle Hale

Redwood City calls for collaborative encampment solutions

Following a weekend encampment fire on Caltrans land in Redwood City, city officials are calling on agency representatives to meet this week with hopes of developing solutions for protecting the health and safety of residents.

February 15, 2022, The Daily Journal


Following a weekend encampment fire on Caltrans land in Redwood City, city officials are calling on agency representatives to meet this week with hopes of developing solutions for protecting the health and safety of residents.

“We are calling on Caltrans to come to the table this week with our city and our legislative representatives to develop an immediate plan to protect our community from the health and safety issues created by encampments on their land,” Mayor Giselle Hale said in a press release Monday.


Hale’s call for support comes after a fire broke out at an encampment Sunday, Feb. 13, resulting in no injuries but property damage to a fence of a multifamily residence, two cars, tents, mattresses and other personal property. An investigation deemed the cause of the fire undetermined, according to a press release from the city. Multiple encampments have popped up across the city which is home to the highest number of unhoused residents in the county according to a 2019 single day count. Many of those encampments are on California Department of Transportation land, prompting officials to meet with agency representatives to develop solutions over the past few months, according to the release.


In response to Hale’s request to meet with Caltrans leadership, which she also posted on her Twitter account, state Sen. Josh Becker, D-San Mateo, told her he intends on discussing the incident when he meets with Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin this Thursday on an unrelated matter.


A representative from Caltrans did not immediately respond to request for comment on the matter.

In the meantime, the city has coordinated with civilian homeless outreach workers to conduct regular visits of the encampment and to provide resources to those who need it in the area. A number of individuals and organizations have conducted outreach in the area including LifeMoves, Downtown Streets Team and the city’s Mental health clinician, Patricia Baker, according to the release.


“We are grateful to our legislators for their collaboration and responsiveness,” Hale said in the press release. “Thankfully, no injuries were sustained as a result of the most recent encampment fire but we need immediate action to prevent future incidents.”