Last stand at the Bulb - Page 2

With Albany looking to clear a bayshore homeless encampment, residents brace for a conflict


"I was out... talking to people and was overwhelmed by the fragility and vulnerability of many of them, as well as their strengths," Neumann said of the residents in an email to the Guardian. "The portables are awful. You look at the Bulb and all the life and beauty that's out there, and then you look at those anonymous utilitarian boxes, and really you expect it all to be stuffed into those containers? 22 men in one, eight women in the other? It's all really appalling." According to the shelter's posted rules, the doors for the shelter open at 5:30pm and close at 8:30am. Showers may be taken 8:30-9:30pm, and breakfast is served 7-8am. The sexes are separated, and pets must stay in kennels outside of the shelter. There are also no "in and out privileges" and if a person doesn't return by 8pm they are not admitted into the shelter. No one stayed in the shelter the first three nights it was available, according to city reports. Amber Lynn Whitson, a Bulb resident, said that access to the shelter is difficult for people, and doesn't address the need for people with disabilities to access a bed during the day. "At least two individuals were turned away at the door to the shelter, due to their names not being on 'the list', she said in an email. "Both were told that they could stay in the shelter, despite their names not currently being on 'the list,' but only after getting 'a voucher' from BFHP." The transitional shelter came to the residents' lives after Breyer rejected the campers' request for an injunction to block the eviction with a temporary restraining order. A lawsuit also filed by the residents against the eviction remains open, according to Neumann.

Based on information obtained in court documents, $570,000 was allocated to remove the Bulb residents, based on a Albany City Council decision made on Oct. 21, with $171,000 spent on the cleanup of the campsites and the remainder spent on the two portable trailers with bunk beds to serve as transitional housing for six months. As of now, the shelter's efficacy to get the campers off the Bulb, as well as the residents' efforts to resist the transition, remains unclear.



The Albany Bulb, a wild shoreline space near Golden Gate Fields and a former landfill for BART construction and other industries, is well known for its art. Now that a transitional shelter looms over the entrance as part of the city's plan to remove the residents from the Bulb, campers, activists, and artists came together this past weekend for a festival of resistance against the eviction.

The rubble and sculpture filled space will soon be transformed into part of the Eastshore State Park system. The event drew around 60 people, according to resident Amber Whitson. She led an art walk on Nov. 29, giving the history of the art at the Bulb and explaining why it's important to preserve it as a cultural resource.

"Some things should remain sacred, and Sniff paintings are out on the Albany Bulb," she said, referencing works by a group of Oakland-based artists.

Other prominent Bulb artists, such as Osha Neumann and Jason DeAntonis, who built massive sculptures made of found wood and parts along the shoreline, were on hand to speak about their contributions and the personal significance the Bulb holds for them.

While residents have come and gone throughout the years, the art has remained a constant draw. Graffiti artists practice their craft, and sculptors work undisturbed, using debris that is scattered around. Even some of the campers' shelters, makeshift shanties of concrete, wood and tarp, could be considered artistic.

Once the transition of the Bulb from untamed outcrop to a state park of well-kept trails is further along, the city plans to remove most of the art currently installed there.


first place? To be evicted implies that you had a right to live somewhere and then there is a just cause for that arrangement to be terminated.

But in this case these squatters know that they never had any right to be there, so "eviction" is the wrong word. Rather, it is simpler the enforcement of existing trespass laws. You know, the same law that would enable you to get the cops to remove me from your yard if I decided to camp there without your permission.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 03, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

Please. If the argument has sunk to this level, it is time to move on. Let's face reality: these people want a place to live where they can do drugs and not have to pay rent. If they are getting SSI they have a lot more disposable income than young workers who have to pay rent so they can maintain themselves for their jobs. Let's direct our compassion to struggling workers and their families, and on the retired and disabled people who have contributed to society to the best of their ability. As for artsy-fartsy drug addicts who have taken over a public park and disdain life in "anonymous utilitarian boxes" as not befitting their artistic tastes . . . echhh, go get a life, people.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 03, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

Amber and her squatter cohort knows the City has announced they will not be removing the art. It's just a distraction from the issue at hand. Squatters taking our park land for their private use.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 10:55 am

The City is spending 25%+ of its limited financial reserves to provide Bulb squatters 6 months of temporary housing as part of the eviction process. That is somehow considered inhumane? Really compassion is fully in evidence here. The squatters have been given 6+ months notice. The property they occupy has long planned as an addition to the State Park system and is currently a City Park. So we have the squatters building housing in a city park and somehow are so disconnected from reality that they are attacking the City for wanting to keep the land available to for public use. They have built permanent structures and brought in pit bulls that make the area unavailable to the public. I'm a progressive enviro and am fully supportive of what the City is planning to do here. It's the City's responsibility to keep park areas from being privatized like this. Albany is one of the most progressive communities in CA and to try to paint the City government as a bad guy here is really inappropriate reporting. Context is important here and the City had bent over backwards to be compassionate in this matter.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 10:52 am

mind here. The city would have been better off adopting a zero tolerance policy on day one, using irresistable force to keep the public recreational areas for the public.

By treating these trespassers with kid gloves, the city has simply walked into this insane claim of entitlement.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 11:07 am

At last! Something clear I can untersdand. Thanks!

Posted by Steffie on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 11:06 pm

Thank God! Soneome with brains speaks!

Posted by Keydren on Apr. 08, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

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