The "Crooked Truth" Behind City's Real Crooked Street

By Jean Elle
|  Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010  |  Updated 6:20 PM PDT
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The "Crooked Truth" Behind City's Real Crooked Street

California Beat on Flickr

Vermont Street in San Francisco. Photo: California Beat on Flickr

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The crookedest street in San Francisco is a bit of a secret. It's Vermont Street in Potrero Hill.  A winding road topped off with picturesque McKinley Square Park.

But there is another secret. Something one neighbor has named the crooked truth.

Videos on YouTube and pictures on Facebook reveal an ongoing problem with homeless encampments, trash and graffiti in the steep wooded hillside along Hwy. 101.

"We've had homeless issues, gangs kids coming to drink, drugs," resident Henry Wimmer said adding that neighbors have been trying to get help to clean up their neighborhood for years.

The problem: jurisdiction.

The McKinley Square Park Foundation has brought together a daunting list of agencies.

The land on the west side of the fence is Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol and on the east side, it's San Francisco Rec and Park, public works and the San Francisco Police Department.

Graffiti is now being painted, police are on patrol and Caltrans says it has spent $187,000 in the last six month regularly clearing the property along the freeway.

But the job is far from over. As soon as agencies clear an area, residents say the encampments come back.

But neighborhoods are not giving up. They are working to redesign the park. Residents hope lighting and thinner greenery will help them take the park back.

Photo: California Beat on Flickr

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