Recycled metal sculpture by Osha Neumann, one of the lawyers for Albany Bulb residents, is a prominent feature of the former landfill. (Sara Bloomberg/KQED)
Recycled metal sculpture by Osha Neumann, one of the lawyers for Albany Bulb residents, is a prominent feature of the former landfill (Sara Bloomberg/KQED)

Attorneys representing about 60 people living at a former Albany landfill that’s been designated to be part of a state park are going to court to stop the city from kicking them off the property.

In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed yesterday, lawyers for homeless residents of the site, known as the Albany Bulb, said the intended eviction would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and a host of provisions in the U.S. and California and constitutions, including the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth amendments. The suit requests a temporary restraining order to stop the relocation of Bulb residents, which could take place as early as next week.

As part of its plan to turn over management of the property to McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, the city announced its attention to evict those who have for years occupied parts of the Bulb. The city, which provides no shelter or services for the homeless, has brought in outside community service agencies to try to connect Bulb residents with housing and other aid. The city is also building temporary bunkhouse-style shelters adjacent to the property for about 30 people.

The complaint lists 10 Bulb residents as plaintiffs, one of whom is described in the suit as living at the site for most of the last 20 years. Maureen Sheehy, an attorney for the residents, says Albany’s plan is unconstitutional and the temporary shelters violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Attorney Maureen Sheehy said the suit aims “to protect a very vulnerable population that frankly is often overlooked by our society.” She added that attorneys for the homeless, including veteran homeless advocate and artist Osha Neumann and the East Bay Community Law Center, only filed the suit after negotiations with the city broke down.

“The Albany Bulb has acted essentially as a homeless shelter for the city of Albany for some time now, Sheehy said. “The city’s plans to, as they say, ‘transition’ the residents off the Bulb are really inadequate.” She

An Albany city spokeswoman said the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit and had no comment.

Here’s the complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for Northern California:

KQED’s Alex Emslie contributed to this post.

Lawsuit Aims to Head Off Eviction of Homeless from Albany Bulb 14 November,2013Dan Brekke



Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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