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After Fighting to Keep Ross Camp Open, Homeless Woman Killed When Tree Strikes Campsite

by Santa Cruz News
Deseire Quintero, whose name became synonymous with the legal effort to keep the Ross Camp in Santa Cruz open to its homeless residents, died Sunday morning when a tree fell and struck her at a survival campsite located in a wooded area in Pogonip, a City park. Quintero was 55 years old.
Deseire Quintero was one of a group of homeless individuals who in April of this year sued the City as part of Quintero v. City of Santa Cruz. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed when plaintiffs failed to meet the court's deadlines, months after after the Judge gave the City the green light to remove the homeless residents from the Ross Camp and to clear away their possessions. The lawsuit was successful, however, in delaying the closure of the camp for a short period of time.

Santa Cruz County Homeless Union President Alicia Kuhl posted the following statement on Facebook:

"With horrible sadness I announce the passing of my best friend. This is devestating. She should have never been out there having to camp in the boonies for safety. She was never offered any shelter after the Ross Camp closed. I'm beyond upset. BEYOND. We will be having a memorial on Sunday at 5 at FNB meal at the post office, and another at City Hall next Tuesday. This is horrible, and it didn't have to happen. It's very fresh, my head is throbbing. I had to notify her Son this morning, he didn't know yet. This hurts really bad. Dez ???"

More information about memorial services can be found at:

Santa Cruz County Homeless Advocates/Santa Cruz California Homeless Union
§Comments from Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs
by SC Sentinel
“She was very very energetic and spunky and wouldn’t put up with any nonsense. She’s really the person who influenced all of us to come together to do the camp council and do the lawsuit,” said Keith McHenry of activist group Food Not Bombs.

McHenry said Monday that he and several of Quintero’s friends attempted to hike out into the woods to where she was killed, but were barred from getting close to the campsite.

“People feel that if she was able to stay in a transitional camp and not been forced out of Ross, she and dozens of others would not have not moved up to the Pogonip,” McHenry said. “It’s just heartbreaking. The people are devastated. It’s a huge huge impact on the community.”

Read more:

Woman killed in Santa Cruz a leader in homeless civil rights suit
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