Encampment at 7th and D SE (CVS) Removed After Concerted Effort of City Officials and Community Orgs
by Larry Janezich
An encampment on the D Street side of the CVS at 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, was removed last week after a concerted effort involving CM Charles Allen’s office, MPD, Metro Transit Police, The Deputy Mayor for Human Services and Homeless Outreach, The Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services, ANC6B Commissioner Jerry Sroufe, CHAMPS, Eastern Market Main Street, and Community Connections. The location is across the street from Southeast Library.
Neighbors had complained for about two months about the tent and its occupants and claimed they had witnessed and videotaped the suspected sale of drugs by those associated with the tent. Some residents said the encampment grew up after MPD increased policing efforts on the 400 block of Barracks Row, responding to pressure from ANC6B, business owners, and Barracks Row MainStreet.
An initial effort to remove the encampment came on November 5, when city workers arrived to dismantle it, having given the required 24 hour notice, only to find the tent gone. Within two hours after workers departed, the tent was back up.
Some residents said they felt threatened after being yelled at by tent occupants. A Parking Enforcement Official – in a service report obtained by residents, appeared to have been intimidated out of issuing a parking violation for the out of state vehicle associated with individuals in the tent.
Thereafter, continued engagement by CM Charles Allen, MPD and Metro Transit Police, and the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services resulted in videotaped confirmation of drug sale activity at the site and the ascertaining that the tent was set up on CVS’ private property.
On November 14, MPD told CM Allen that the encampment had been removed, saying, “We have received enough information and support from the community to see that the occupants in this group are conducting illegal activities, uninterested in governmental aid and social services while posing a continuous nuisance and danger to the community.”
Officer Mazloon, MPD’s Barracks Row Bike Cop – “Officer Maz” – told ANC6B Commissioner Brian Ready’s Barracks Row Working Group last night that “some players have been arrested” and that MPD has been detailed to check the location twice every shift until further notice. Also, a representative of Community Connections said that nine individuals have been legally barred from the CVS property and that Community Connections continues to do outreach work, though many or the occupants of the tent were not interested in homelessness services. CHAMPS worked with CVS regarding the installation of cameras to monitor the site.