Boulders Meant to Deter Homeless Cause a Ruckus in San Francisco

Desperate times. Desperate measures.

2 minute read

October 1, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


meunierd / Shutterstock

The San Francisco Department of Public Works is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

A group of neighbors banded together to pile a bunch of boulders on a sidewalk in San Francisco to deter homeless from sleeping on the sidewalk, subsequently inspiring repeated acts of civil disobedience and an ongoing debate about how to respond to the city's growing homeless population.

A mysterious band of neighbors placed the boulders on the sidewalk on Clinton Park, a street in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, as first reported by Teresa Hammerl.

At the time, a "San Francisco Public Works department spokeswoman told KTVU the city had no part in putting the boulders here, and since they aren't blocking the sidewalk, there are no plans to remove them," according to an early national article on the subject by Travis Fedschun.

The controversy has been on a roll since protestors countered the grassroots act of anti-homeless architecture by gathering to drink Rolling Rock and roll the rocks into the street. A "cat and mouse game" ensued, according to another article by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, with the city replacing the rocks and the protestors rolling the rock back into the street.

Since the back and forth, Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru has given tacit approval to grassroots anti-homeless tactics by saying the more permanent solution to the controversy is larger rocks. "Nuru commended the neighbors for banding together to fund the 'solution,'" according to Rodriguez.

An additional article by Brock Keeling is devoted to feedback from local residents about the boulders and the attention they brought to the homelessness crisis in the city by the bay.

Monday, September 30, 2019 in The San Francisco Examiner

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