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Surge of Street Blight in the Mission Spurs Neighborhood Outcry; Action Plan Hopes to Remedy It

Mission conditions have noticeably deteriorated over the past few months, with more street vendors selling hot goods, more camps, and junk galore, but the neighborhood is on a mission to fix the problem.

The pile of apparently stolen bikes above is nothing new to the Mission District. But many people have wondered aloud if a recent outbreak of misery on Mission Street isn’t directly linked to Mayor Breed’s Declaration of emergency for filletwhich diverted law enforcement and social service resources from other areas to house them in the Tenderloin — and encouraged illegal activity elsewhere.

“Since the beginning, conditions in the mission have gone down so much that I haven’t seen it that way since, frankly speaking, I started as a supervisor,” Hillary Ronen, Mission District Supervisor said at a board meeting a few weeks ago. “Conditions are worse than ever on the mission, I think because of the focus on the tenderloin. Where are we going here as a city?”

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Ronen discussed the recent spate of plagues on Mission Street, and district in general, with the chronicle. “This is the general feeling of a neighborhood in chaos,” she said, particularly condemning the rise in street sales of clearly stolen items.

But Ronen and a number of other mission district stakeholders believe they can identify problems and implement solutions. Mission Local reported on Ronens in early March “Mission Plan” to address these conditions.

“The road conditions in the mission are unacceptable,” the plan states. “Sidewalks are impassable, trash and trash plague neighborhoods, and San Francisco homeless people live on the streets in unhealthy and unsafe conditions.”

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Bearings have always been a problem in the Mission District, but one that has been wearing down in recent months. The chronicle cites city data and concludes: “The number of tents and other inhabited street structures in the neighborhood has increased from just over 70 last June to around 100 now.” a February fire that ripped through the Taqueria Los Coyotes building, displacing 22 residents was started by warehouse debris in an adjacent alley.

Part of Ronen’s plan is for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to open 53 shelters in the coming weeks. But 53 beds are several hundred too few for this problem. She’s also working to get more Healthy Streets Operation Center (HSOC) team patrols to clear debris and walk-through near camps.

“If they can’t convince people to come in, at least that’s obviously the first and most important goal [HSOC can] around those camps so they don’t get swamped with the amount of trash,” she told Mission Local.

Even if you house every vulnerable person on Mission Street tonight, the area will still be a magnet for the vulnerable. Addressing the Mission’s homelessness would require a coordinated effort from the city. It seems we see more commitment than ever before lately, but we have yet to see visible results in the traditionally hardest-hit neighborhoods.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

But it’s a recent and recent development that so many vendors are selling apparently stolen items on Mission Street. It is not difficult to connect the dots between this phenomenon and this recent rise in shoplifting. SFist spotted this jeans stand today, and also – a block from Skechers – a retailer on Mission Street that sells dozens of brand new shoes that could easily have been Skechers. Maybe they weren’t, but if people can buy the same item that was stolen from street vendors then it will undercut many Mission Street stores, some of which are locally owned and not highly insured chains like Skechers.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Street vending started as normal Mission Street shops shopping outdoors as a COVID precaution. It just got out of hand as others came along. COVID unemployment hit low-wage workers hard, particularly in sectors where workers did not have convenient home working options and vending machines may have been the only option. Some newer ones Street Selling Right could effectively weed out the obvious retail organized theft from the fine street vendors selling flowers, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and art, as some of these vendors really add to the vibrancy of the street.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

And oh yes, 16th and Mission Street. This corner has never not spoiled and has always had a sort of Mos Eisley cantina feel to it.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

But the SFist drive up Mission Street today found two DPW trucks standing empty on that corner, right in front of vendors clearly selling stolen groceries. Isn’t that the kind of thing they should do something about? Even if we saw that the police stationed on the 24th and mission, they seem to do nothing about stalls selling hot goods. It is not enough just to provide resources. These resources must have the will to do something and stop the dangerous or bad behavior.

Because this all seems correctable. The areas of Mission Street where the rot has increased are every one or two blocks around the 16th Street and 24th Street BART stations. It seems that resources could be allocated there to clean things up quickly.

The Mission doesn’t have the same intractable problems as the Tenderloin, in large measure because there’s clearly not as much overt drug or heroin dealing. (During the trip that I took these photos, I did not see a discarded needle on the ground.) It’s fair to say that there is too much drug trafficking in the mission, and it certainly is. But back in the 1990s, 24th and Mission was ground zero for the black tar heroin drug trade, and it was inevitable. This corner has problems, but the open-air heroin trade is nowhere near the scale it used to be, and it doesn’t compare to the visible trade in the tenderloin.

So we hope Ronen’s mission plan is successful. Because the Mission District can be fixed, and it’s not impossible.

Related: Now SF has a graffiti flash mob; 100+ Taggers Coated Mission and 18th Streets Friday Night [SFist]

Images: Joe Kukura, SFist

Surge of Street Blight in the Mission Spurs Neighborhood Outcry; Action Plan Hopes to Remedy It Source link Surge of Street Blight in the Mission Spurs Neighborhood Outcry; Action Plan Hopes to Remedy It

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