Occupy SF fixing up camp in response to raid threat

Mike Koozmin/The ExaminerWet weather has turned the Justin Herman Plaza bocce ball courts into giant puddles and has sent Occupy SF campers scurrying to higher ground.

As occupiers in San Francisco were hit with more city notices of violations Thursday, they attempted to make camp improvements to prevent a police raid they sense is imminent.

Following issuance of violation notices, Department of Public Works head Mohammed Nuru inspected the Occupy SF Justin Herman Plaza camp around 4 p.m. Thursday, pointing out noncompliance issues such as camping on the grassy border and couches.

But Nuru acknowledged there were improvements. “I’ve seen some improvement. But we are still not there,” he said. “I hope they can keep this standard and do better.” One big improvement is that there were just two dogs, down from a high of 25.

Public Health Department Director Barbara Garcia, who also toured the camp, said conditions at the camp were “a little better.”

Since the movement began, The City has spent about “$625,000 for responding” to Occupy SF, according to the Mayor’s Office.

On Thursday afternoon, about 130 notices from Public Health were distributed at the Justin Herman Plaza site, the location Occupy SF participants have called home since Early October. This local movement was established in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, the origin of the nationwide effort to end the inequality of wealth in the United States.

Health code violations cited include trash and recurrent incidents of feces and urine.

Public Works issued notices to those who set up tents on Market and Main streets near the Federal Reserve, ordering them to “take down all tents and structures and vacate immediately.”

Occupy SF expected a raid Thursday. But as of Thursday evening, there had been no police raids. An interfaith group of religious leaders sent a letter to Mayor Ed Lee asking for collaboration and no raids.

Meanwhile, pressure for Lee to bring the protest under control has been intensifying, with complaints from nearby businesses and daily inquiries from the media about how Lee intends to handle it.

Lee has held three meetings at City Hall with Occupy SF representatives, most recently Wednesday, which was described by participants as “tense” or “mildly contentious.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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