Feb 2, 2018
by Duane Dewitt
Pomo Pride presented itself numerous times on Saturday Jan 20, 2018 at the Roseland Village Shopping Center. Under sunny skies a group of dancers from theKashia Band of Pomo Indians performed for a small crowd of Roseland residents and local government officials. This was part of theWelcome Roseland Community Celebration put on by the city of Santa Rosa. There was also a nice spoken blessing given byMelissa Elgin from theGraton Rancheria of Pomo Indians. There were many other presentations by other groups, but the one from the representatives of the first peoples of this area was a very interesting display of the costumes and rituals of the local peoples.Danza Azteca Xantotl de Santa Rosa started the day’s events and did a performance of how dances were performed by Aztec Indians in southern Mexico centuries ago.
There were many short speeches by local folks and politicians. One of the more striking things about the event, with many tables with city agencies presenting information, was the lack of information about the 130 person tent city less than a hundred feet from the event. More than one Roseland resident asked this reporter what was going on with the site now almost five times as big as when the Hooverville style encampment began over 2 years ago. What information this columnist knows about is the county originally sanctioned the move of homeless people here from a camp at the old Sonoma County Water Agency property on West College Ave. near Stony Pt. Road.
In November 2015 those folks moved over to Roseland and set up camp where the county had proudly tore down the landmark Rose Bowl bowling alley, a main recreation and socializing spot for Roseland residents for many decades. The county taxpayers foot the bill for the site with water, utilities, waste removal, and “Porta Potties”. A shower trailer comes by weekly and people drop their donations off to the rapidly growing site. An interesting sign on the fence with green plastic wrapping around the site said the residents want even more things, “with no strings attached.” After the Pomo Indians had danced they did a prayer circle in the parking lot between the “Tent City” and the nice White Tent rented by the city for the Welcome event.
The juxtaposition was striking. Large tents big enough to protect the local government people from the rain can be rented. But the local government authorities cannot protect transients from the rain while they sleep on hard shale rocks over a contaminated Brownfield site. An unfortunate man died there recently and with this cold rainy weather upon us again there may be future problems considering the different “illness bug” out there this winter. Some single wide Modular Buildings such as the county has rented for the Permit and Resource Management Department at Ventura Dr. could be place there at the homeless camp now being known as “Camp Last Chance.”
On Weds. Jan 24, 2018 Ms. Holly Trujillo, who works for theSonoma County Community Development Commission (CDC) spoke briefly withRoseland Review. She said the Roseland Hardware Store next door to the Roseland Village Site had been purchased by the Mid-Peninsula Housing organization. Trujillo has been a Project employee for the Roseland Village site but is now on other projects. Mr. Bruce Shimizu fromMid-Peninsula Housing stated the building has been purchased to help provide affordable housing at the site in the future.Mr. Benjamin Wickham the new Affordable Housing Program Manager for the Sonoma County CDC affirmed the county is currently in negotiations with Mid-Peninsula for an affordable housing project to go forward at Roseland Village. Until a project goes forward the Roseland Library will still be in use. Community members may contactMs. Diedre Duncan, the Administrative Aide now handling the scheduling of the building if they are interested in reserving the building for us. Diedre.Duncan@sonoma-county.org, phone (707) 565-7537. Camp Last Chance will still be there now until further notice.
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