Railroad property lines near Kansas Ave. bridge could mean homeless need to move

(WIBW/Marleah Campbell)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Homeless people near the Kansas Ave Bridge may need to relocate if property lines in the area show they are trespassing.

Topeka Rescue Mission executive director Barry Feaker said some people living the camp told him railroad police visited the community on the east side of the Kansas Ave. bridge a couple days ago. According to the residents, the railroad told them they would have to move.

Feaker and Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran said their agencies are working with Valeo and other and community partners to see what options are available if some of the homeless camps in the area are in fact within railroad property lines. Feaker said the partners are developing ways to engage with the camp residents more effectively, and develop both short- and long term- solutions.

Cochran stressed there are no plans to remove anyone immediately, because the railroad has to figure out where their property lines are in relation to the camps. They also must post signs indicating it’s private property before they ask anyone to relocate.

BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad have independent police departments to enforce the laws. Cochran confirmed officers with the railroad were in the area assessing the property.