Park Board crew clears remainder of homeless encampment on west side of Powderhorn Park

A homeless encampment at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis grew to an estimated 560 tents by July 9, 2020, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. (FOX 9)

Crews from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board attempted to clear out the remainder of a homeless encampment at Powderdorn Park Friday morning, but were met with some resistance from residents.  This came after officials delivered notices to vacate and followed up over the past two weeks with outreach and transportation offers.

A FOX 9 crew observed several hundred residents of the park's west encampment in a confrontation with several dozen police while park board crews cleared the tents. 

After a series of violent crimes occured at the park, the park board passed a resolution last month to limit the amount of encampments to 20 parks, with a maximum of 25 tents at those parks. Each encampment requires a permit and cannot be in a school zone. So far, encampments at four parks have permits and 12 other parks have been identified to accommodate encampments.

Following the closure of the temporary shelter at the Sheraton hotel, an encampment grew in Powderhorn Park to as much as an estimated 560 tents on July 9. After the resolution passed, crews first cleared the east encampment. Crews removed the last 35 tents in the west encampment Friday morning.

Earlier this week, park board officials cleared out encampments at Elliot Park and Kenwood Park following "significant crime and safety incidents, including assaults." Notices to vacate were also distributed at Peavey Park.

Once people have vacated the encampments, a contractor hired by the park board will clean the sites, remove abandoned tents and dispose of needles and other bio-hazard materials.

Under an executive order from the governor amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local governments are not allowed to close encampments unless there is alternate housing or if the site has become a threat to the public.