The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board served notices to vacate to people living in three homeless encampments this week, clearing two on Wednesday but leaving one intact after activists showed up in support of the campers.
The notices were given to campers at Kenwood Park, Elliot Park and Peavey Park, each of which had about a dozen tents, according to a statement from the Park Board. The three encampments had “significant crime and safety incidents,” including assaults, thefts and gunfire.
The encampments at Kenwood and Peavey parks were located near schools, making them unauthorized under a resolution passed by the Park Board last month prohibiting encampments in school safe zones. Hope Academy, which is next to Peavey Park, resumes in-person classes in September.
On Tuesday evening, 35 rounds were fired from several guns at Peavey Park, according to the Park Board. No one was reported injured, and no witnesses have come forward.
Volunteers and the Park Board have moved campers at Elliot and Kenwood parks to other encampments. No tents were visible at those parks as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Residents at the Peavey encampment had told volunteers that they did not want to leave. As a result, dozens of people showed up at the park Wednesday to protect the encampment.
Jake Virden, one of the volunteers, said they kept crews from removing public toilets and turned away buses sent in to relocate campers. At one point, they stood atop machinery brought in to clear the tents.
There were about eight tents on the northeast corner of Peavey as of Wednesday afternoon. Dozens of people were sitting at nearby picnic tables, mingling and listening to music.
Encampments began growing in local parks in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. There were 38 known encampments with a total of 413 tents as of last week, according to parks officials.
The Park Board has since worked to enforce the resolution limiting the size and number of encampments. It has continued to clear the encampment at Powderhorn Park, bringing it from 560 tents last month down to about 35. Remaining campers were given similar notices to vacate.
Four encampments have been permitted by the board, with 12 others eligible for permits.