EL CAJON, Calif. — County of San Diego crews quickly worked Thursday morning to transform a stretch of North Magnolia Avenue on the border of El Cajon, where a homeless encampment lined the street for the past year or so.

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells says residents were fed up with the encampment’s criminal element, with frequent reports of violence and drug activity.

“This is exactly what we wanted, we wanted this whole encampment to be dismantled. It really had to be the people of the El Cajon-East County area that had put a lot of pressure to make this happen,” Wells said.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said, over time, they made several arrests at the encampment.

People who live and work nearby say there were constant safety concerns.

“The encampment had grown in such size that it was actually encroaching on the road and it was a safety issue for vehicles traveling on the road and also the people in the encampment,” said a man who works nearby.

Signs were posted earlier this week notifying those in the encampment they had to vacate the area by Wednesday night.

County officials said 71 people accepted housing vouchers and agreed to receive services from the county, while 15 people refused any help.

The county now plans to convert the space into a safe parking lot where people can park overnight and use restrooms and showers.

The mayor says he’s not convinced that’s the best move.

“Frankly, we talked about having a parking lot like this about six weeks ago at City Council and we decided as a council we didn’t want that in El Cajon because it brought in too much crime and more homelessness. At this point, the county is doing what it wants to do and it it doesn’t feel the need to discuss it with us even though it’s right on our border,” said Wells.

The county says the parking lot could be ready in about three months.