Roughly 140 people, mostly Indigenous, packed their belongings Thursday morning and scattered into Minneapolis' East Phillips neighborhood as state troopers closed the large homeless encampment at the Wall of Forgotten Natives.

Cleanup trucks belonging to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which owns the campsite along Little Earth Trail, were stationed on the shoulder of Hwy. 55. Many of the people evicted dropped their bags just beyond the yellow police tape and sat against the chain-link fence blocking entry into East Phillips Park as they considered their next move.

"We're going to go cut down the fence," said Chance Askenette, 23, who had been living at the camp with relatives and has had to leave four camps in the last six months. "We were there once before, but they shut us down and put a fence up. Now we're going to go back there because it's been open for like two years and they haven't done nothing with it. So why can't they just let us go back?"

Homeless people flooded to the wall last week after Minneapolis officials closed large encampments near the Bessemer apartment building at Franklin and Cedar avenues. State troopers on Wednesday had distributed notices to vacate within 24 hours, warning that work crews would confiscate any belongings remaining on the premises at 9 a.m. Thursday.

"Highway right-of-way is not a safe place for human beings to live," said MnDOT spokesman Jake Loesch in a statement. "As such, we coordinate closely with local governments and service providers to ensure people experiencing homelessness receive information about available services and safer alternatives for housing."

Since the first Wall of Forgotten Natives encampment was established on MnDOT land in 2018, the state agency has been forced to contend with many camps on various properties it manages in Minneapolis. Under guidelines that MnDOT developed five years ago to respond to encampments, officials are supposed to inform social service providers about the planned clearing a week in advance so they can let the camp's occupants know. Those guidelines are being updated, Loesch said.

Information on the back of MnDOT's vacate notices gave phone numbers for Minneapolis homeless response team members, one of whom hasn't worked for the city for eight months. But a city spokesperson said Friday that MnDOT should not have put those numbers on the notices to begin with.

A third outreach worker listed, Autumn Dillie of the American Indian Community Development Corp. (AICDC), said MnDOT had included her information without her permission. The AICDC has been critical of camp closings by local and state authorities before adequate housing has been found for their occupants, with CEO Mike Goze calling it "whack-a-mole."

The Adult Shelter Connect reservation system opened at 10 a.m., with 20 beds available for men and 14 for women in Hennepin County's emergency shelters, according to the intake staffer. All the beds for men were taken by 10:46 a.m. and the ones for women by 11:50 a.m.

With all shelters full, there had been 13 turnaways by 1 p.m. Thursday, though more beds may open up in the evening.

"The city has evicted countless encampments and spent significant money to do so," said camp organizer Nicole Mason at a news conference just before the camp was cleared. "The city pushes our people around, but does not offer services that meet our needs. The little services that are offered are undercut by evictions."

With the temperature nearing 100 degrees Wednesday afternoon, encampment volunteer "Dan Dan" Robertson died. The cause of his death was not yet known, but Mason said he had been extremely hot and was not using drugs.

Camp residents lit a spirit fire for Robertson, who had stayed at the Wall of Forgotten Natives' first camp five years ago. He was well-known and liked by many, said Darek DeLille, who spent time with Robertson at the Pow Wow Grounds coffee shop.

"He was a giving person. When we're all struggling, what's mine is everybody's at that point, and he absolutely embodied that," DeLille said.

A number of elected officials observed the sweep Thursday, including state Sen. Omar Fateh and state Rep. Aisha Gomez, both Democrats who represent the area, and Minneapolis City Council Members Jason Chavez, Aisha Chughtai, Jeremiah Ellison and Robin Wonsley.

Chavez, who represents the East Phillips neighborhood, apologized for the way local and state authorities have handled the encampments. He said he planned to call a meeting urging city, county and state officials to consider a tiny home village like Avivo in south Minneapolis, along with overdose prevention centers, addiction treatment centers and a relaunch of the Navigation Center — a temporary resource hub that was set up at the wall five years ago to connect chronically homeless people to housing.

"Not only is the city, but our entire government is continuously pushing people around, throwing their belongings to the trash and treating them less than human," Chavez said. "We need all these levels of government to come to the table to cough their money up and to work with our unhoused relatives to figure out solutions."

As of Thursday afternoon, an encampment across from the Fifth Precinct police station, at 31st Street and Nicollet Avenue in the Lyndale neighborhood, had grown rapidly to dozens of tents. And Askenette said he planned to pitch his next tent about four blocks away.

Any Hennepin County resident experiencing a housing emergency can call the Hennepin Shelter Hotline at 612-204-8200.

Correction: According to information provided Friday by a Minneapolis city spokesperson, the Minnesota Department of Transportation should not have listed phone numbers for the city's homeless response team members on the back of its vacate notices. One of the numbers listed was for an employee who hadn't worked for the city in eight months.