PITTSBURGH (WTRF) — On Thursday, city workers cleared out a homeless encampment along the Allegheny River.

The city says it was making good on a promise. The workers cleaned up and cleared out the encampment on the 10th Street Bypass, which was populated not so much by people experiencing homelessness but by a criminal element, the city said.

“We’ve identified the bad characters that were hanging out down there. The drug dealers, firearms. The few homeless that are still there, we’ve found residences for them, and we’ll be putting them up in a hotel.”

– Councilman Anthony Coghill

The city took action after posting orders for squatters to vacate. The clean up included discarding tents, garbage and discarded clothing along the riverfront. In an earlier sweep, workers say they found between 40 to 50 used syringes. 

The city has not moved against other homeless encampments, which they say are filled with people who are down on their luck, reports KDKA. It is waiting on the opening of Second Avenue Commons to provide a secure alternative to life in the tents.

People who utilize the river walk, applauded the removal of the encampment.

“I just think it’s kind of pathetic that a city that advertises itself as the most livable has something like that across from the two stadiums.”

– Karen Merry – resident of the area who walks their dog along the river

Coghill says the city will be taking a balanced approach to the crisis of people experiencing homelessness, says KDKA.

“Pittsburgh is a very caring town. I’d like to think we take care of our homeless. But when people come from out of town, I’d hate for them to see that. I don’t want to see those tents on the shores. But we’re not going to remove anyone without having a place for them to go.”

– Councilman Anthony Coghill

Once Second Avenue Commons opens, the process will be repeated at all other encampments. The city request people who are experiencing homelessness to get into a secure shelter.