City had planned to vacate site because of health risk

The homeless encampment hidden off the side of the Gwynns Falls Trial, just down from the Greyhound Station ("The Other Occupiers," Feature, July 4) was notified to evacuate on Thursday, Aug. 2, and the structures were cleared out Aug. 7. One of the Mexican immigrants living in the camp, Alfredo Rodriguez. was discovered at the location by Baltimore City police on July 8 and pronounced dead at 6:12 P.M. that evening. Police discovered no signs of foul play, and Rodriguez's colleagues said he had recently been hospitalized for alcohol abuse.

Officials in the Department of Homeless Services, who would not go on record, state that the city had planned to vacate the site because the structures provided a public health risk long before Rodriguez died, but other priorities and the derecho storm of June 29 delayed the process. Kurt Kocher of the Department of Public Works (DPW) says that when DPW arrived to clear away the structures-some of which had been there as long as seven years-the relatively permanent residents had already cleared out and DPW found one young couple living in a tent. Kocher says that DPW held all the materials removed from the spot for two weeks to allow the former residents of the camp time to reclaim them.

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