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Judge slams Phoenix for allowing 'The Zone' to proliferate

By Ben Giles
Published: Monday, March 27, 2023 - 5:51pm
Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - 8:43am

tents line the road in
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Tents line the road in "The Zone," a large homeless encampment in Phoenix in April 2023.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ordered the city of Phoenix to disband “The Zone,” a sanctioned homeless encampment spanning several city blocks west of downtown.

Judge Scott Blaney sided with a group of businesses and property owners in "The Zone," who sought to have the encampment declared a public nuisance.

Blaney slammed the city for its failure, and in some cases refusal, to enforce criminal and quality of life laws in "The Zone." Had city statue and ordinances been enforced, the encampment would not have been allowed to proliferate, the judge wrote.

The city now has until July 10 to show it’s complying with an order to rid "The Zone" of tents and other makeshift structures, while also cleaning the area of human feces, drug paraphernalia and garbage. The judge provided no specific directions for how Phoenix officials should accomplish those orders.