Tyler's "tent city" empty, residents' future uncertain

Tyler's "tent city" empty, residents' future uncertain

Volunteers pitched in Tuesday to help salvage portions of the make-shift homes in "tent city" as questions lingered about the large number of criminal trespassing citations issued to the people who lived there.

Representatives with the City of Tyler said they had no knowledge of Union Pacific's intent to issue the citations Monday. Instead, they said, the whole thing was made possible by an old book of blank city tickets given to the Union Pacific Police at some unknown point in the past.

Union Pacific owns the tent city land and decided to do something about the trespassing based on several incidents involving people interfering with nearby train tracks. People from tent city have denied that those incidents were caused by anyone in their group.

It was unclear Tuesday whether the tickets would hold up in municipal court, and what sort of punishment those who were ticketed could face.

Union Pacific Spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said the tickets were in keeping with a timeline the company laid out for tent city residents in early January.

"This is the only thing that we really can do at this point," Espinoza said.
"At this point we are simply following through with the timeline that we gave them. It's a very unfortunate situation. We have done everything that we can to work with them, including connecting then with community resources."
 
By noon, most items of value inside tent city had been cleared out.
 
People involved in the Christian P.S. 91 ministry were still looking for an alternative piece of land on which to live. Though there were several options, Tyler police officers were on hand to enforce the fact that one of them is not zoned to allow camping.
 
P.S. 91 is now raising money online. The fundraiser can be accessed by clicking here.


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