Hawaiian evicted from Lucy Wright Park

  • Contributed photo

    Roy Arizo listens to a county park ranger tell him about his violations of the Shelter in Place regulations, at Lucy Wright Park in Waimea recently.

WAIMEA — Roy Arizo, a retired, homeless Native Hawaiian, was evicted out of the Shelter in Place zone in Lucy Wright Park in Waimea on Superbowl Sunday because he did not take his tent down.

Arizo’s tent was made up of tarps, bamboo sticks and rope, and tied to the park’s baseball backstop. That backstop is county property, and attaching his dwelling to it is a violation of the rules that came with the establishment of the temporary zones set aside for houseless people to camp during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those staying in the zones are required to secure a permit and initial a list of the 21 rules outlined in the permit.

Arizo says he didn’t know about the rule he violated until it was too late. The rule states “camping materials/gear should not be secured to any vegetation or county facility.”

County Director of Parks and Recreation Patrick Porter told The Garden Island that Arizo was warned he was in violation of the rule multiple times before he was evicted.

“The individual was warned and cited on multiple occasions for not following park rules,” Porter said in an email. “After repeated offenses, his permit was revoked.”

Arizo has been staying in Lucy Wright Park since 2019, after moving back to Kaua‘i from Utah. He said the camp was in terrible shape, so he took it upon himself to help care for the area by mowing the lawn and by cleaning county pavilions and restrooms.

“This was my birthplace, where I was born and raised, so I decided to stay,” Arizo said. “The park has changed from when I first came. Everybody got together, we started cleaning the area, keeping the park clean and picking up after each other,” he said.

”I made a garden, we mowed the lawn for nine months. The county only took care of the bathroom, but we took care of the trash and added the toilet paper.”

Arizo says he witnessed “things going on worse than a string tied off to a backstop” at the park temporary camping zone, and he says he should have been given more time to bring his tent into compliance with the rules.

“It was nice and it wasn’t endangering nobody,” he said.

Hanapepe resident Mike Kocher said he often picks up Arizo and finds him work on the Westside. He witnessed Arizo being addressed by county staff before Arizo was evicted.

“I don’t know, they think he’s causing troubles,” Kocher said. “He’s trying to make the place look a little better with his little garden, and there was no rubbish in front of his place.

“You know, the mayor comes out with this pandemic plan and tells everybody, ‘don’t go anywhere, you guys stay where you’re at.’ And these people are complying and they’re trying to make the place a little bit nicer. Yet they’re getting evicted.”

Councilmember Felicia Cowden has been watching the situation, and said Arizo’s eviction is part of a bigger picture.

“All of this is but a symptom of the real problem of economic and cultural displacement that is larger than the rangers or the residents in the parks,” Cowden said.

“Roy is a reflection of camp residents who place the emotional protection of others above their own best interests. I also feel for our park rangers who have to be the ones to set and enforce rules.”

Arizo, who is temporarily staying with a friend, said he hopes his story will help others in his position and ensure fair treatment for others.

“This is our time to help someone, not just pulling them down and make them feel worse,” Arizo said. “That park has been so blessed. People were helping each other out. It was good. And the community even liked it, where all the homeless were in one place instead of roaming the streets.”


Stephanie Shinno, education, business, and community reporter can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Reality Bites February 21, 2021 5:07 am Reply

    “All of this is but a symptom of the real problem of economic and cultural displacement that is larger than the rangers or the residents in the parks,” Cowden said.

    This is not an example. Kauai is one of the most expensive places to live in the USA, yet provides very little opportunity beyond entry level tourism jobs.

    You don’t move from Utah, an inexpensive state, to the most expensive, isolated state, Hawaii, unless you have been saving $$$ for years to come back to where you were “born and raised”. This is very poor planning.

  2. Rev Dr Malama February 21, 2021 8:33 am Reply

    Good Christians, where are you now????
    Jesus is standing by the side of the meek and humble…..
    And Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish people of Kauai…. step forward to denounce this atrocity!
    A contract with the county for habitation during the pandemic has the same legal teeth as any rental or mortgage and the person on the contract CAN NOT BE EVICTED UNDER FEDERAL LAW. The rights to peaceful enjoyment apply as well, so all you double talking county heads better check your authority to preside over another person’s rights! Where in your job description does it say you have any right to show up at a person’s residency without legal notice of 48 hours and/or court letter of judgment?
    County officials should be doing the work they are being paid (to much) for and fix the crisis infrastructure and waste management boondoggle instead of always sticking their nose into a poor person’s tent or business and harrassing them.
    Civil damages are going to be forthcoming in spades to the tune of $75,000 per individual and millions to the County for lack of upholding the constitution of the usa and State of Hawai’i….
    The law of the splintered paddle is in full affect and shall not violated or the wrath of Akua will be made apparent!
    Mahalo KE AKUA

  3. kimo Edwards February 21, 2021 8:48 am Reply

    Stephanie Shinno is a shining light in this world. We could use more like her. That said, enough with the biased one-sided articles promoting homelessness. The Garden Island could better serve our houseless community with well-rounded articles promoting solutions and insightful discussion of ideas rather than attempting to glorify the embarrassing vagrancy that has taken over our county parks.

  4. Disgusting Derek February 21, 2021 10:23 am Reply

    Remember people this is Derek kawakami’s kauai. He extended opting out of safe travels again until maybe maybe…maybe later. Then as of friday rescinded all camping permitted to the houseless and homeless. Do you think these folks are reading the newspapers, or checking the news on iPhones. Derek has not offered a path to housing for these folks. This rich boy has no concept of how an economy should work and how to take care of the people in need. All he is doing is catering to the the well off few while leaving the rest of us needing. The guy is a joke at this point.

  5. Stephen Davis February 21, 2021 1:14 pm Reply

    He is a native to the island, the land belongs to the native inhabitants not the US government period.

  6. I saw a Vampire once February 21, 2021 4:27 pm Reply

    Did you ask your county councilmen what they plan to do with the homeless? Let’s learn from other communities. In California, they call it segregate. If you live in Hollywood, only the good looking ones and fashionable ones can stay in their neighborhood. They are the high class ones who’s into fashion. And expensive things. Think? Kaua’i can do this too. But they need to decide if it’s worth it. I mean after all what have you got in California? Porn. Nice beaches. Bars and other strip bars or clubs. Malls and shopping center. On Kaua’i, what have you got? beaches. Do you really want a nude beach set aside? Yes. shopping center. Hiking. Camping. Restaurants. Make things identical to California. Then you’ll find a way to separate the public from the rich and the poor. It is just that way. But I guess with only 70,000 people on the island, what is there to separate? Welcome to the rich and famous. Miniature size Kaua’i. Who would want to live like this? I would. I’d be a king on the island. With Material wealth to prove it. It is just that way.

  7. Richard J Shane February 21, 2021 5:06 pm Reply

    Blah blah blah

    All over America

    ‘one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing’

    except when ‘ya gotcha’ your personal hand in the peoples monies!!!

    Big fn Government…!.

    Get a civilian job Government lifer employees!!!

    Signed a disgruntled American citizen labeled as a “####” …I.

  8. Richard J Shane February 21, 2021 5:09 pm Reply

    Censored for the TRUTH?




  9. PS February 21, 2021 7:51 pm Reply

    As a Haole, I’m amused at the outrage. Tell him to get a job… Aloha Spirit, indeed…

  10. MisterM February 22, 2021 8:10 am Reply

    This bum needs to be sent back to Utah. Let them deal with his sorry hide.

  11. Mike Morgan February 22, 2021 8:55 am Reply

    Hit the road Jack,
    and don’t you come back no more

  12. Kamuela Kawika February 22, 2021 9:49 am Reply

    The Hawaiian should be allowed to carry on what he doing.
    There needs to be a plan for the homeless indigenous people of Hawaii ….maybe a trailer park or tent park for the homeless…
    I miss the old days of Hawaii…the world becoming Pilau….we should not follow….I miss home….stay mainland now.

  13. Joe Public February 22, 2021 1:56 pm Reply

    Why start with Hawaiian being evicted? Sensationalizing to sell papers is the new “NEWS”. Everyone knew from the start that this was temporary due the COVID and they needed to find a place, the rest of the resident and visitors on the island desire to use the parks and facilities too.

  14. Kauai Boy Mainland February 22, 2021 7:49 pm Reply

    Do you have any idea what kind of message TGI sends when the headline says what it says?

    Guaran-ball bearin’ you would never see “Portuguese guy evicted…” or “Japanese guy evicted…” or “Chinese guy evicted” or “Filipino guy evicted…” or heaven forbid “Haole evicted…”

    Anybody that thinks that the county or the state or the federal governments are not going to be in charge here in the future is deluding themselves.

    No free lunches, brah.

  15. Kauaidoug February 23, 2021 10:28 am Reply

    To you people saying get a job, shame on you. I don’t like the look of these encampment at our parks but where are these people going to wash up before going to work, or get breakfast or do laundry. How are these folks going to get a deposit together for a place? Can YOU imagine what their life might be like? Come on you Christians and folks of religion, these folks need a hand up not your derision.

  16. Kauaidoug February 23, 2021 10:32 am Reply

    These folks need help not your derision.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.