Logs line West Oakland street in apparent attempt to deter homeless, RV dwellers

Along a two-block stretch of Poplar Street in West Oakland, much of the parking space is taken up by logs.

People in the area say they are there to keep homeless people from parking their cars and RVs here.

One homeless man says they appeared a few months ago, and just pushed people to another block.

"When they block it off with the logs they move someplace else, but there aren't enough logs where they can block off everything," said Lee Green who says he's been homeless for several years.

It is unclear who is placing the logs there.

The city says it was not them. Businesses in the area did not return calls.


Along a two-block stretch of Poplar Street in West Oakland, much of the parking space is taken up by logs. Dec. 2, 2019

The logs are large. It would take heavy equipment to drop them there.

Neighbors say RVs are often parked on both sides of Poplar between West Grand Avenue and 18th Street where the logs now sit. A handful of campers are parked nearby.

People around here say the biggest problem with the RVs is the raw sewage. They say some campers would dump it out on the side of the road creating a health hazard.

"What we should advocate more for is more sanitation. Bring in sanitation services to the encampments," homeless advocate Candice Elder.

“Private citizens, private businesses doing their own removal of people. That is definitely wrong,” she says.

The logs appear to be a similar response to the San Francisco neighborhood that placed boulders on the sidewalk in September to prevent tent encampments.

The city of San Francisco eventually removed the rocks.

Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney said the logs are a “manifestation of frustration to a crisis we are not responding to. I do understand the frustration."

KTVU asked Oakland officials if placing the logs in the street was legal, and whether they will be removed. No one responded for comment.

But critics had plent to say.

“It is an approach in the wrong direction," Elder said. "Instead of putting down logs, people need to hold the city accountable to actually house people.”