LAWSUIT ALREADY FILED OVER THE TENT BAN THAT TOOK EFFECT FRIDAY This morning the Texas ACLU filed for an injunction on the City’s new ordinances aimed at Houston’s homeless folks and panhandlers, Meagan Flynn reports this afternoon for the Houston Press. The new rules (which among other things ban sleeping in tents or boxes, make it illegal to possess a grill or more than a 3-by-3-by-3-foot box’s worth of stuff in public, and prohibit panhandling close to people, ATMs and payphones) went into effect on Friday. An ACLU staff attorney said in a statement that the rules step away from Houston’s previously “humane approach” to reducing homelessness, adding that “they’re meant to get people into shelters with ‘tough love,’ but the truth is the shelters are full and Houston’s homeless have nowhere else to go.” Flynn points out that the Coalition for the Homeless’s homeless count last year estimated that only 164 shelter beds were vacant on a night when 1,046 people were sleeping on the streets. [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Photo of previously cleared homeless encampment under Louisiana St. Bridge downtown: Christine Wilson
The encampment under Louisiana St. (shown above) was dismantled earlier today; a reader sends both now-you-see-it and now-you-don’t shots. The camp was previously tucked above the south bank of Buffalo Bayou, about halfway between Sesquicentennial Park and Allen’s Landing.
The removal appears to have been carried out by workers for Houston First, responsible for maintenance of public venues such as Miller Outdoor Theater and the George R. Brown Convention Center, along with a list of downtown parks that includes Sesquicentennial and the Sabine Promenade. Houston First also works on marketing and branding for the venues (and more generally for “the Houston product”) in partnership with the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Here’s what the spot looked like after today’s clear-out:
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Parked out front: The first working prototype of the Cricket Trailer, fashioned by International Space Station furniture designer, architect, and sometime blacksmith Garrett Finney. It’s now ready for the road! Or at least some test driving. Spotted recently tooling down Studewood, the lightweight, fits-in-your-garage camping vehicle is street legal, sporting a VIN, license plate (apparently a police officer had to come by to make sure the thing was legit), and an official Texas inspection sticker from the Kwik Kar Lube & Tune on 11th St. in the Heights.
After testing a full-scale cardboard-and-wood-frame mockup and several smaller models, Finney assembled the pop-top prototype from a custom-built frame, composite panels, and high-tech fabrics in his Woodland Heights studio. Finney, who calls his design firm Faro Studio, is aiming for a trailer light enough to be pulled by a standard 4-cylinder car.
How does the Cricket look when it’s opened up?
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