Part of Joe Rodota Trail reopens in Santa Rosa after homeless encampments clear

Homeless individuals have left or been placed at a variety of shelter options, including hotels, a congregate shelter and trailers.|

Sonoma County has reopened a section of the popular Joe Rodota Trail in Santa Rosa that had been closed for almost a month because of two homeless encampments.

Homeless individuals living along the trail have either been relocated or packed up their things and left.

A section of the trail along Highway 12 between Dutton Avenue and Wright Road was closed July 8 as a result of safety concerns about those using the 8.5-mile path that connects downtown Santa Rosa to Sebastopol. Officials said at that time there was not enough room at local shelters to house those who camped on the trail.

Eventually, those camping on the trail were offered placement in federally run trailers located near the Sonoma County Fairgrounds; vouchers for a 30-day stay at local hotels; or a six-month stay at Sam Jones Hall, a congregate living shelter in Santa Rosa.

Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. of the U.S. District Court for Northern California imposed a temporary order July 25 blocking the county’s plan to clear the trail the following day. Seven people camping on the trail had requested the order and accused the county of not providing adequate shelter options ahead of its planned sweep.

Once the ban was lifted a few days later, 71 people had been placed in alternative housing, any others left and the cleanup began. The county Regional Parks Department completed the work earlier this week.

“We are happy to be reopening the Joe Rodota Trail,” said Melanie Parker, deputy director of regional parks. “We know what an important recreation and transportation corridor it is for our community.”

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at

Kathleen Coates

Windsor and Cloverdale, The Press Democrat 

As someone who grew up in a small town, I enjoy covering what's happening in Windsor and Cloverdale, which are growing in their own unique ways.  I delve into issues by getting to know people and finding out what’s going on in the community. I also pay attention to animal welfare and other issues that affect Sonoma County.

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