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Joe Rodota trail reopening in Santa Rosa after homeless encampments cleared

Cyclists question decision to close off Joe Rodota Trail over homeless encampment
Cyclists question decision to close off Joe Rodota Trail over homeless encampment 03:22

SANTA ROSA – A section of the Joe Rodota trail in Santa Rosa is reopening, nearly one month after it was closed due to homeless encampments in the area.

Sonoma County Regional Parks announced Thursday that all of the people living in the encampments have either moved or relocated to alternative shelter sites in the area. Parks officials said staff from the county's Department of Health Services and Community Development Commission placed a total of 71 people at alternative shelters.

Officials said people who opted for the shelters received assistance from county staff to relocate their belongings. A dump truck was also provided to discard unwanted items.

"This was a very complex issue that the county as a whole has been working to solve in the long term," Sonoma County Supervisor Chris Coursey said. "Our goal all along has been to get the trail reopened to the general public as soon as possible, and I'm pleased that we were able to get that done."

On July 8, officials closed a section of the trail along Highway 12 between Dutton Avenue and Wright Road. At the time, parks officials said the closure was necessary because "the encampment is impeding safe public use of the trail."

The closure prompted complaints among trail users, particularly among cyclists, who rallied for the trail to reopen.

More than two weeks after the trail was closed, county officials began offering residents shelter space ahead of a cleanup of the site. Following a temporary restraining order issued on July 25, debris removal was completed earlier this week, officials said.

"We are happy to be reopening the Joe Rodota Trail," said Regional Parks deputy director Melanie Parker. "We know what an important recreation and transportation corridor it is for our community."

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