The Show on KJZZ

Listen live weekdays at 9 a.m.

Judge orders Phoenix to permanently clear 'the Zone' homeless encampment by Nov. 4

By Chad Snow
Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - 5:37pm
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - 5:46pm

Kirsten Dorman/KJZZ
A piece of equipment resembling a backhoe scoops up and pushes items left by those who used to live in this portion of the city's largest homeless encampment.

The city of Phoenix is facing a new deadline to clear the sprawling homeless encampment known as “The Zone.”

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney ruled Wednesday that the city must clear the area by Nov. 4.

It’s the latest decision in a case brought by business owners, who say crime, damage and human waste have made the area a public nuisance.

City officials began shutting down “The Zone” in May under an order by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney, but they had asked to be given until April 2024 to complete the job.

Justin Pierce, a lawyer representing the city, said in July that parts of the encampment on the edge of downtown Phoenix have been cleared since a judge declared the area to be a public nuisance, but other blocks still need to be addressed.

Pierce added that the process takes time, including making sure those who live there have somewhere else to go.

He said Phoenix is developing a space nearby with tents and temporary restroom facilities as an alternative, has increased the number of police officers working in the area and has nearly tripled its funding on confronting issues of homelessness.

Business owners and residents near the encampment have called it a public nuisance that subjects their properties to damage, litter and crime.

VIDEO: Hear from someone in "The Zone" as Phoenix clears another block of homeless encampment

More stories from KJZZ

BusinessPolitics Housing