SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A part of Railroad Drive in Sacramento is effectively closed to the public.
“I let them know, ‘Hey, the game is over. We’re taking back our street,” said Rich Eaton, who barricaded the road.
One of the property owners on the block put up barricades and paid a security guard to, for the most part, only allow in people who work on the street.
“It was like walking through a working meth lab to get to work,” said a Greenwerx Employee.
One man did not want to be identified, but he said the four months since he’s worked on Railroad Drive have been a nightmare.
“There’s days when they’ll be parked three-wide on the street and we can barely get by. They’ve had our gates completely blocked. I’ve pulled up and had employees waiting to get in because they were afraid to get out of their gate and punch in the code,” the employee said.
“The city’s dereliction of duty has just come to a boiling point and I’m really just begging for help,” Eaton told FOX40 one year ago.
At the time, his biggest concern was the closure of the nearby homeless shelter and the growing amount of encampments, trash, vandalism, and long-term parking. But he said the problems had gotten exponentially worse.
“Literally a week ago from this spot to there, all the way down and around the corner there were 57 motor homes and trailers parked,” the employee said.
And Eaton said city officials have been largely unresponsive despite posted signs prohibiting parking overnight. So, he sued the City of Sacramento earlier this year.
“We’re past this being a homeless issue. This is straight crime,” Eaton said.
Eaton said last Saturday someone stole surveillance cameras from the roof of one of his buildings, so he stepped in to keep watch.
“The prostitution, the stolen cars, people meeting on the street at 3 a.m.,” Eaton said.
He said what he saw was the final straw.
“I paid some homeless people some money so they would leave. I fed them; I took care of them and helped them and when Railroad Drive was cleared. I put up barriers,” Eaton said.
Eaton said he is aware he barricaded a public street and the issue of doing so.
He said he has reached out to city officials on all levels including the mayor, city manager, and police chief to try to resolve the situation, with no response. That was until Wednesday.
“Do I want to be here doing this? No. Do I want to sleep on my roof armed with a shotgun to protect my assets? No I don’t.”
Eaton acknowledged the fact he is not allowed to block a public roadway but he believes there is no other options left.
“This is not in any way against the homeless or homeless people in need. We are fighting the criminal element and the city refuses to help us.”
Eaten told FOX40 a nearby homeless shelter closed which caused issues of growing number of encampments, trash, vandalism, and poor parking.
“We are approaching $170,000 damages. It just tweaked a nerve. There is no law enforcement on Railroad Drive. The criminals know it, we know. They know they are going to come down here and deal drugs. Prostitution daily, nightly… It has all stopped Monday afternoon,” Eaton said.
He hopes the city can sit down with him and come to a solution.
“I may be looked at like anti-homeless and that is not the case. The homeless too are afraid of the crime here on Railroad Drive. We can fix it overnight, no. We can fix it by enforcing the no parking, that is pretty easy.”
Now posted on the barriers is an order from code enforcement to stop blocking the street by Monday. Eaton said he plans to be there Monday to see where things go from here.