Fairfax Park Encampment
Fairfax Park Encampment
Why this petition matters
Fairfax Park Petition
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." John Muir
In the past few years, since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a growing encampment in the center of our park facilities. Our park was not designed or intended to be used as a campground for individual use. Consequently, a major health issue has presented itself as the denizens of the encampment have been witnessed using the creek as a toilet.
This presents a considerable health risk to the children of our community. Contamination of our creek is a serious health hazard, with the potential for extreme legal issues should anything devastating happen to the health of any child who visits the creek. We wouldn't want that headline winding up in the Marin IJ. Action must be taken immediately to clear out the encampment and prevent any harm to the children who use the surrounding park facilities on this basis alone. We realize it is important to continue to engage in some Non-Violent conflict resolution, with the current denizens of the park encampment. But we must address more issues regarding the current state of the park.
*Many citizens feel unsafe, and on guard with the present state of things in our town's beautiful open space. Those of us who live in town value the park as a place for meditation and quiet time with nature, a central feature of our lovely town. Currently, the ever-expanding outdoor living space is exclusive to a few residents who call it home. All other passers-by while being welcome by the inhabitants of the encampment, hardly feel inclined to join in the party. They want their quiet place back instead.
*An additional issue is the drug use taking place in the park inside the encampment. Narcotics of all sorts have been witnessed being consumed, alcohol use, and frequent complaints of the odor of drug use occur during our children's skateboarding camps and other summer camp outdoor activities. There have been complaints about some potentially dangerous erratic behavior by some of the encampment inhabitants, or visitors being witnessed. This isn't sustainable.
*As citizens we need our Town Council and Police Department to help us sort through this development. We need them to recognize that a solution to this issue needs to be considered and acted upon with URGENCY for all Fairfax citizens. We acknowledge the people living in the encampment as equal citizens and as members of the Fairfax community with rights. The goal here is is to acknowledge the growing conflict between those who want our public park to be restored to a shared space and those who choose to live there.
*This is not a matter of not wanting to help the homeless, it’s a matter of restoring civility. Many un-housed people recognize the importance of maintaining that. Despite all their hardships and challenges, they value being part of a community. It seems, that at least some of the members, and visitors of the current encampment are unable to appreciate this. It is important to consider a humane re-location of each of these individuals living in the park so their needs are best served. They are not best served being allowed to live in the Park, having to use park grounds and the creek as a toilet with our children looking on.
We thought one of our residents, Sam Lamott had a good summary of the situation.
“As an ex-addict, my heart goes out to our residents without homes, and I hope we can come up with a plan that is acceptable, humane, and fair to all of us. If the town and its residents decide to make accommodations for the homeless, it should be done consciously, and with a plan. It should be done above-board in the daylight, and in public, so the townspeople can participate in the decision-making process.
Not addressing the issue is not a solution. Pretending the issue will resolve itself is not a solution. This issue is not something to be ignored or pushed to a later day. This is something that demands conscious decision making by our leaders now.
We have a beautiful town with an incredible culture. So many people contribute their time and energy to make it such a magical place. We have created and maintained a beautiful little society here.
The guiding principle must be, that if you want to enjoy the benefits of our society, you must agree to certain rules: You don’t have a right to be intoxicated in public. You don’t have a right to harass or disturb its residents playing in the public spaces. You don’t have a right to sleep in the town’s parks, which are a commonwealth, meant to be enjoyed by everyone. Humane arrangements can be made if that is what the townspeople want to do, but we should not surrender one of our most precious resources in Fairfax to make space for an encampment, that’s just a bad use of space.”
- Fairfax Town CouncilFairfax Town Council
- Renee GoddardTown council
- Stephanie HellmanFairfax Mayor/Town Council
- Chance CutranoFairfax Vice Mayor/Council Member
- Bruce AckermanFairfax Town Council