UPDATE NO. 1, FEB. 8, NOON: Sara, who suffers from epilepsy had a seizure around 11:00AM Wednesday morning. When help finally arrived it took them 15-20 minutes to find a way inside the riverbed due to blockage of entrances that OC Public Works has made. The paramedics had to move boulders and fences to be able to reach Sara. The work from OC Public Works ‘construction’ is not only a threat to medical emergencies but a fire hazard as well.
The rain on Monday did not stop community members from coming out and showing their support to the homeless who reside along the Santa Ana Riverbed. When notices appeared along the Riverbed encampment last week warning the residents that early morning on Feb. 6 the Sheriffs Department would send out deputies to move out the homeless along with county trucks to confiscate their belongings, community members took it upon themselves to create a plan of action. Morgan Denges organized a team of homeless rights activists calling themselves Riverbed Rescue to assist the residents of the “Tent City” viewable from the 57 Freeway.
Though not expecting more than his handful of friends to show up, to Denges’ surprise more than two dozen people came out on that rainy morning to stop any city workers and sheriffs. The event was deemed a success by protesters after hours of chanting on Chapman Ave. with no signs of county workers nor members of the OC Sheriff’s Department.
The homeless continue with their guard up as more boulders are placed by Orange County Public Works and access in and out of the riverbed is newly closed off by fences.
Disabled residents of the Riverbed have expressed concern with the newly placed fences that they are a safety hazard. Some residents of the encampment have serious illnesses such as epilepsy and the fences would prevent ambulances from reaching them in a timely matter should a heath issue arise.
The protestors made it clear to the homeless and city officials that they would be back if there was any sign of disturbance to the residents by the city or county officials.
See video of protestors and testimonies from Riverbed residents below.