ALBANY -- The death of a 46-year-old man Oct. 17 on the Albany Bulb was the sixth involving a homeless resident of the waterfront area in the past 15 years.
According to a report on Patch.com, Patrick Leach was suffering from heart disease. Officially, the city is listing the cause of death as natural causes.
The death was the second this year on the Bulb. On Feb. 7, the body of a 43-year-old woman was found. Police ruled her death an apparent suicide.
Leach's death was addressed during the City Council's Oct. 21 meeting, when members were debating Albany's ongoing efforts to remove the homeless population from the waterfront site and turn over the land to the East Bay Regional Park District.
According to the report on Patch.com, Leach had been suffering from worsening congestive heart failure and had been taken to a hospital shortly before he died. However, he wanted to return to the Bulb, so a friend secured a portable oxygen generator and brought him back to her tent.
Since 1998, four other deaths have been reported on the waterfront. Two were classified as overdoses by police, and two were classified as natural causes.
The overdoses were a 46-year-old woman in 1998 and a 59-year-old man in 2003.
A 55-year-old man died of natural causes in 2007, and a 60-year-old woman died of natural causes en route to the hospital in 2009.
Estimates vary on how many people live on the Bulb, but the population is thought to be 50 to 70. There have been plans dating back years to turn over the land to the park district as part of the Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.
Earlier this year, the Albany City Council voted to begin enforcing the city's anti-camping ordinance on the Bulb beginning in October.
The city also approved a program to reach out to the population and attempt to get as many into housing as possible. However, progress has been slow, and advocates for the homeless as well as members of the community have protested at several meetings.