NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — The Orange County Transportation Authority is now asking for help from the city of Newport Beach and Newport Beach police to curb a growing homeless encampment at its Newport Transportation Center.
In an effort to address the growing homeless population at the hub, OCTA previously removed seating from the area that people were using for sleeping.
“They took away the chairs, and they took away everything trying to eliminate this issue, and it’s kind of uncomfortable,” Rachel Marino, a bus rider, said.
But instead of addressing the issue, dozens of homeless people began sleeping on the ground or in tents under the fluorescent lights while others set up camp a few feet up a hill behind the hub — ignoring the no trespassing signs.
“You will see the cops here frequently and you will see them do a walk around and you’ll see them, but at this point I think they’ve kind of just thrown their hands up,” Marino said. “They can’t get them to leave.”
The transit hub is just one block away from Fashion Island and a short distance from the city’s financial center, and at least one rider said she was scared by the homeless encampments.
“It’s sad, but sometimes they are very aggressive,” she said.
But now, the OCTA is getting help from the city after reporting its frustrations with what it described as dangerous and unsanitary conditions for drivers and passengers. The city posted signs that stated the transit center was closed to the public from 11:15 p.m.-5 a.m.
“Just yesterday they put these up early in the morning, and put them up all over the parking lot,” Steve Lawton, one of the people who sleeps at the hub. “I want them to ask, ‘Where are we supposed to go?'”
Newport Beach police are expected to start enforcing the no trespassing law, and will continue to do so until next August.