Public safety punting in Nevada City

A transient camp could have been the cause of another fire — this time in Brunswick Basin — we learned this week.

A similar incident happened not too far from our neighborhood behind Pioneer Park in Nevada City in 2014. Last year, a transient (who gave his occupation as “gold digging”) was arrested on felony arson charges after starting a fire in Pioneer Park.

Aware of the risks, I’ve noticed a steady parade of transients walking from the Chevron gas station in Nevada City down to Pioneer Park this spring, complete with their backpacks and other camping gear.

I called the Nevada City police to alert them to the danger. A day later, I got a call back from the city police department thanking me, but saying a transient camp behind Pioneer Park would be in the jurisdiction of the County — and to call them.

So much for public safety collaboration. I asked the police administrator who called to have the Police Chief call me, but I have never heard back.

You can’t make this stuff up!

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

3 thoughts on “Public safety punting in Nevada City”

  1. Yes, it’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when” we have a repeat of the events of summer, 2014 back there. Let’s hope that we get as lucky with the results next time as we did back then.
    The trail between the park and the Stonehouse is also a tangled mess of down timber and underbrush, dotted with multiple transient camps. The city needs to lean on the absentee landowner to get that parcel cleaned up — it’s a nightmare fire waiting to happen.

  2. I sent the Police Chief (Tim Foley) this post with a request for a call back, and heard back this morning. We had a wide ranging discussion around policing in Nevada City, as well as execution. On the issue of the homeless encampments, there might have been some disagreement about whether what’s being done is sufficient. The bigger issue, I think, is whether Nevada City can afford to have a stand-alone police department in the long run or whether it should be “outsourced” to the Sheriff, Grass Valley or others. Fewer people are moving to Nevada City, leaving mounting public safety bills for the rest of us. I appreciated Tim’s call.

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