Efforts To Move Homeless Out Of Santa Ana Riverbed "Going Well"

ANAHEIM (CNS) - Efforts to move transients out of the Santa Ana riverbed encampments were ``going very well'' today, Orange County Board Chairman Andrew Do said.

Do -- who was at the riverbed for several hours -- speculated that officials may clear the section from Katella to Orangewood avenues by day's end, and the next segment from Orangewood to Chapman Avenue may begin , he said.

``Things seem to be running very smoothly,'' Do said.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who has been presiding over the litigation that cleared the way for moving transients out of the riverbed area, was on scene as well, Dio said.

``Judge Carter has been walking around the whole length of the river, and that gives people a sense of urgency,'' Do said.

The influx of transients, either on their own or with the help of homeless advocates, that Do complained about on Wednesday has ceased, he said.

``So far, we have not heard any more reports of things like that happening,'' Do said. ``Just like (homeless advocates) watch us, we also watch them.''

Do believes the county is now serving far more than the number of transients left on the riverbed as of Feb. 14, when a settlement agreement was hammered out in court.

From Feb. 14 through Wednesday night, the county has gotten 477 transients into local motels or shelters, Do said.

When officials were working on the settlement, the estimate was about 400 transients remaining on the riverbed, so the county pledged to find motel rooms and shelter for all 400. Homeless advocates were skeptical the county could find shelter for the 400, Do noted.

``So I said to Judge Carter we moved past 400 a long time ago,'' Do said. ``When we started this three days ago they said can you even come up with 400 rooms. Now we know we did and now we're being asked to provide more. We're not complaining, but let's be reasonable with expectations. That's when I asked for (Carter's) patience and to be reasonable in our expectations.''

The motel rooms are for 30 days with food vouchers. An original headcount for the riverbed taken when the county began issuing notices to leave in early January was 623. But while many left before Carter issued a temporary restraining order, officials suspect many more returned following the injunction, preventing the county from removing the transients from the area.

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