Neighbors Demand Answers After Homeless Encampments Move Onto Railroad Property
FRESNO, Calif. — A Fresno woman is demanding answers after homeless encampments have moved in right next to her home.
It’s happening on the railroad tracks on Mckinley and Golden State.
“I live here. I want it to look nice. I want it to be safe,” said Amber Hillman, resident.
Amber Hillman lives only a short distance away from this encampment on Mckinley and golden state
and she is tired of it.
“It is dangerous for drivers when the animals are running in the street, the bicycles are on the street, it isn’t acceptable,” said Hillman.
We first met Hillman in February, she raised concerns about the encampments that had taken over the high speed rail owned vacant field on Golden State and Olive.
After our story, and the help of assemblyman Jim Patterson’s involvement. The High Speed rail quickly cleaned up the property, forcing the homeless to look for somewhere else to live. Hillman said they have just moved one block away right next to the railroad tracks.
But this time, the property is owned by Union Pacific Railroad.
“They are like God when it comes to their rail lines. City of Fresno doesn’t have the authority and neither does the county,” said Steve Brandau, Fresno County Supervisor.
County supervisor and former City Council member Steve Brandau has made it a big mission to tackle the problem of homeless encampments. He said it’s a difficult issue to tackle because the homeless population knows their rights.
“You see it on railroad tracks, they know it is not easy for Fresno PD to go in there or Sheriff because it is not their property,” said Brandau.
He said the way he has solved it in the past is by working with the homeless task force. Hillman said she vows not to give up on her community or the homeless who live nearby her.
“We need to save these peoples lives, we need to love them enough to not have them live 3 feet from the train, the wind could suck them under,” said Hillman.
Union Pacific gave us a statement:
At Union Pacific, safety remains our highest priority. Trespassing on railroad property is a problem, which creates a hazard for the public as well as Union Pacific employees. Union Pacific has worked with law enforcement agencies to remove trespassers from its property in many locations in California.
Union Pacific looks forward to working with local jurisdictions to address the issue of transient encampments throughout its rail network. We encourage the community to report transient encampments on Union Pacific property by calling our Response Management Communications Center at 1-888-877-7267 or by emailing RMCC_in@up.com.
Story by Bailey Miller for yourcentralvalley.com