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Rawhide Bridge Homeless Encampment A Growing Concern

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Jamestown, CA — The Tuolumne County Supervisor who represents Jamestown made a plea to his fellow board members about a growing issue near the Rawhide Road Bridge.

During board member reports at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisor Jaron Brandon noted that the biggest concern he’s hearing about right now from residents of his district is homelessness. Notably, there is a homeless encampment underneath the Rawhide Bridge. Trash has accumulated at times, and there are fire risks.

Brandon stated, “What was probably a guy under a bridge for a long time, which is not ideal but it existed, overnight, within a week, became a mini-Camp Hope.”

He pointed out that staff was earlier directed by the board to develop a critical infrastructure ordinance, that would prevent camping in certain places, and once completed, it could be beneficial to thwart issues such as this. He has also requested that the Public Works Department establish a no-parking zone nearby, and to have some limited fuel reduction work done in the area.

Brandon said, “We have to be able to do something to go clear these things.” Emphasizing to the board, “This is something that can happen in other areas (too).

Concluding, “I’m asking for your support so that we can look at addressing this. For my constituents, this is something they drive by every day.”

Eventually, the area will be overhauled via a Rawhide Road realignment project, but Brandon stressed that solutions need to be found in the short term, nothing that most would be “band-aid” actions due to state restrictions.

Since the comments were made during board reports, they are informational only, and no action could immediately be taken by the board.

Brandon noted that he would like to see the board collectively address the issue.

Also related to homelessness, the board voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve a $158,445 contract with Baldwin Construction to renovate the Oak Terrace Navigation Center in Soulsbyville. The building was recently purchased by the county to be used for transitional housing.