To Napa Mayor Jill Techel and City Manager Mike Parness: There are a growing number of homeless encampments along the Napa River from the Third Street Bridge to the Imola Avenue overpass. Recently on my morning walk along the Napa Vine Trail, I counted at least eight to 12 encampments, no more than a few hundred yards from the trail. I will gladly take you for a walk so you can see for yourself.

Several of the encampments are very large, and one appeared to have a permanent wooden structure attached. Garbage is strewn from the Vine Trail to the encampments. When I crossed the footbridge along the trail (the bridge before getting to the In-Shape Health Club back pathway) there was garbage and used tenting material tossed all over the bridge. Whole portions of the fence facing that foot bridge (as are sections of the Imola underpass) are covered with an increasing amount of graffiti.

I have frequently witnessed people bicycling to the encampments, or taking shopping carts full of material there. None of the encampments appear to have bathrooms, causing me to wonder if human feces is ending up in the Napa River.

I have contacted both the Napa Police Department and the Code Enforcement Division to inquire about what local laws and/or health codes are being violated by the continued--and growing presence of these homeless encampments.

I understand the increasing cost of housing in Napa County and the aftermath of the Napa and Sonoma county fires has caused many hard-working people out of their homes. Surely, Napa can come up with a better alternative than allowing homeless encampments to flourish throughout the city, giving it the appearance of some parts of San Francisco or Oakland, which have become tent cities.

I love living in Napa, and understand the growing need for housing for all of our citizens. But, the failure to enforce simple health, safety, housing, fire and environmental codes and laws, and the failure to police the burgeoning number of homeless encampments, are the signs of a city out of control and unwilling to confront our housing crisis.

I look forward to the resolution of this matter for the safety and sake of all Napa citizens.

Steve Villano


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