A homeless encampment under a highway overpass in San Francisco was cleared away by authorities this morning, Caltrans officials and homeless advocates said.

Crews showed up around 9:30 a.m. to clear the camp below the overpass from Interstate Highway 280 to King Street, said Ken Dotson, a member of the Coalition on Homelessness, a group of advocates that observed the removal.

Dotson said between 30 and 40 people, including some disabled people and children, were staying at the encampment, which he said “was fairly clean.”

However, Caltrans spokesman Steve Williams said the encampment was a health hazard and was trespassing on the agency’s property.

Williams said there was a lot of debris at the site, and that a manhole cover had been removed and replaced with a net that “basically became a gigantic outhouse.”

He said California Highway Patrol officers, San Francisco police officers, Department of Public Works crews and social services workers were all at the site today to clean it up and provide outreach to the people who were living there.

But both authorities and the homeless advocates said a new camp could likely pop up there as soon as Wednesday.

Williams said Caltrans plans to put a fence up but “we have to decide what type of fence to put up and when.”

Dotson criticized the removal of the encampment.

“It hasn’t been causing anyone any trouble. They’re very quiet and not making a political statement,” he said. “They just want a place to stay and not be bothered.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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