Neighbors talk wash woes near Oracle, Ft. Lowell - Tucson News Now

Neighbors talk wash woes near Oracle, Ft. Lowell

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

People who live and work near two city of Tucson washes near Oracle and Ft. Lowell are concerned about safety.

Michael Moore II has watched the homeless take old mattresses and couches dumped on the side of the road and use them to make camp in the washes under Oracle Road.

“My biggest worry is they’re going to cause a dam down there (when it rains) and it’s going to back up into my neighborhood or worst-case scenario, one of them is going to drown,” Moore said.

Moore claims he has reached out to city officials about the issues. He said they’ve responded, but “kicking them out and citing them for trespassing them is not working.”

Evergreen Cemetery General Manager Peter Callaghan told Tucson News Now he’s been paying out of pocket to maintain the Cemetery Wash south of Ft. Lowell and Oracle for years.

“It’s getting expensive and we really don’t own the wash. It just runs through our property and it’s the property of the city,” he said.

He wrote a letter to the Ward 3 back in August asking for help.

“The wash is rapidly eroding and encroaching onto Evergreen’s property each time it rains,” he said.

Callaghan has had to block off roads on his property for safety reasons.

Tucson News Now reached out to Ward 3 about these concerns. Here is the response from Councilwoman Karin Ulich’s aid Nick Riley, which doesn’t specify when improvements could be made by.

All,

The area of Oracle and Fairview has faced persistent issues with regards to homeless camps in the wash and erosion of the wash.  A few months ago Council Member Uhlich and I met with the manager of Evergreen Cemetery to discuss the impact that these issues have on the cemetery.

With regards to homeless camps, I have spoken to the City of Tucson Housing and Development office that handles Homeless Protocols and was informed that numerous homeless protocols have occurred in the area over the past few months.  Persons camping in the wash have been removed and camps have been removed, though in many instances the areas have been repopulated shortly there after.  Regarding the area of the wash located
with the boundaries of Evergreen Cemetery, I have been informed that the issue has been referred to Code Enforcement due to the involvement of private property.  As I understand it, the Cemetery can have on file with the City a "Letter of Trespass" and post no trespassing signs in the area to expedite the process of the City removing individuals from the wash.

With regards to erosion, I did have a conversation with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation and was informed that Navajo wash is on a preliminary list to which the Flood Plain Administration wants to make improvements, but that Cemetery wash is not on that list.
 
Homelessness and erosion are ongoing, persistent issues in Tucson and Ward 3 and we'll continue to work on solutions with City staff and the community.

Thank you,

Nick Riley
Council Aide
Council Member Karin Uhlich
Ward 3 Council office
520.791.4711

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