A homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz on Dec. 18, 2020. The camp was home to 150 or more people.
The homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz on Dec. 18, 2020. The camp, home to about 150 people, was set be cleared out by Jan. 6 under an executive order from City Manager Martín Bernal that cited unsafe conditions.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Civic Life

Judge extends order, letting San Lorenzo Park homeless camp remain until Jan. 20

Judge Susan van Keulen this week further ended a temporary restraining order that prevents the city of Santa Cruz from shutting down the San Lorenzo Park homeless encampment. She is still weighing what long-term action to take.

One day before the fate of a homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park was to be decided, a judge extended an order allowing the camp to remain in place until at least Jan. 20.

The extension Tuesday by Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen comes a day after the city of Santa Cruz asked to file more evidence in the case, which revolves around whether clearing the encampment during the COVID-19 crisis would put homeless residents and the rest of the community at greater risk of harm.

The city must submit its additional evidence by 5 p.m. Tuesday, and the homeless residents suing the city in federal court have until noon Thursday to file their response or extra evidence.

Van Keulen had originally granted a temporary restraining order on Dec. 30 in response to the lawsuit, which questions the legality of City Manager Martín Bernal’s executive order closing the park. Her order forced the city to stop its second round of sweeps and leave the camp of about 150 people in the city park.

After a court hearing on Jan. 6, van Keulen extended the restraining order for a week, until Jan. 13, so she would have time to deliberate and review the arguments of both sides.

Check back for more on this developing story.