Dozens of city and county workers descended on Sacramento's tent city on Thursday, and within hours cleared the area of all signs of the sprawling homeless encampment.
As homeless men and women scrambled to find new places to live and sleep, more than 150 workers used heavy equipment, shovels, rakes and their hands to clean up discarded trash, tents, clothing and other remnants of the campground north of downtown.
By early afternoon, Sacramento Municipal Utility District workers were preparing to fence off the property near the Blue Diamond almond processing plant for a construction project.
Threatened with citations for camping on that land, many of the tent city's residents this week moved onto private property a short walk east. But that encampment, too, was being dismantled Thursday with the help of county and city law enforcement officers, local homeless advocates and church members from as far away as Los Angeles.
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Under pressure to deal with the encampment north of downtown, which has drawn international attention, Mayor Kevin Johnson last month secured a $1 million commitment to find shelter beds for 150 to 200 campers and help accommodate their belongings and pets.
"This situation has been a national eyesore for Sacramento," said Vincene Jones, director of the city's Neighborhood Services Department, as she surveyed the scene on Thursday. "We are mobilizing everyone today so that we can bring this to a closure."
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