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Report-Back From Wood Street Sweep in Oakland

By Brendan S.

Wood Street sweep, September 12, 2022. (Brendan S./The Renegade)

CalTrans, in collaboration with California Highway Patrol (CHP), is displacing hundreds of residents on Wood Street in Oakland, granting them no services and nowhere to go in the midst of a heat wave. Multiple residents have been arrested and the sweep continues this week.

This is particularly infuriating as Cob On Wood project has done extensive work building homes and gardens with these residents for years. The sweep puts on full display the complete lack of human decency in 12.

I went to Wood Street on Monday September 12, helping and documenting as much as I could.

Upon entering the site, one finds tons upon tons of personal belongings, many of them basic necessities, completely destroyed by CalTrans and Highway Patrol. RVs, cars, motorcycles, suddenly turned into “state property.” No compensation, no services, nothing. Just hundreds of displaced humans with nowhere to go.

Helping residents move their belongings while walking over vital medications for disabled and immunocompromised residents strewn all over the encampment by CalTrans and Highway Patrol, hundreds of souls discarded once again by the state, thrown out into the neoliberal void. The Wood Street sweep has been one of the most emotionally and physically challenging events I have attended in a day.

“I got no place to sleep tonight but it’s alright. Under the stars again. This kind of thing is normal, you know….The Constitution says everyone is guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but that’s not what happened here. Those things are reserved for Burlington Northern Santa Fe here,” a resident told me.

The sweep continues this week and residents need support moving their belongings, please pull up to Wood Street in Oakland if you are available.


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