Haight-Ashbury recycling center receives final notice to vacate Golden Gate Park property

S.F. Examiner File PhotoAccusation: A recycling center in the Haight claimed efforts to oust it were based on discrimination against its clientele.

The Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council Recycling Center received its final eviction notice from San Francisco on Thursday, giving it until Wednesday to vacate the Golden Gate Park property it has occupied for 40 years.

The notice came three months after the California Supreme Court declined to hear the recycling center’s case that it was wrongfully evicted in June 2011.

Recycling center Director Ed Dunn said the notice was not a surprise, but the timing certainly was.

“I thought they would wait until January,” he said. “Now we’ll have a lot of people out of work for Christmas.”

Dunn said officials with the Recreation and Park Department visited the center Tuesday asking in-depth questions. He said he thought the meeting was “positive.”

This eviction is the culmination of an 18-month legal battle in which the recycling center tried to stop the eviction by stating that it was an “illegal discrimination against its homeless clientele or in retaliation for criticizing then Mayor Gavin Newsom,” according to court documents.

The recycling center received its first eviction notice in June 2011, with Rec and Park hoping to turn the site, which covers two-thirds of an acre, into community gardens. When it did not leave, The City sued. Appeals and court decisions had prolonged the recycling center’s stay at the Frederick Street location.

Additionally, a stay of the eviction was granted in October while both parties tried to negotiate a resolution, but talks apparently stalled.

Sarah Ballard, a spokeswoman for Rec and Park, said the department is looking forward to putting gardens in the space.

“The department is pleased to be moving forward with the neighborhood-driven project to create a community garden in Golden Gate Park,” she said.

Dunn said he did not know what’s next for the recycling center. He said it received the notice Thursday morning and would need a day or two to consider options.

The recycling center’s Facebook page, which posted the notice Thursday, had numerous supporters expressing concern and sadness at the news. The page’s administrator, however, encouraged all the well-wishers not to give up: “We have a week to stop this–don’t give up yet. Please spread the word!”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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