KPD, DLNR cite, eject remaining houseless

  • Courtesy of Kaua‘i Police Department

    Personnel from multiple governmental agencies start clean up of the Shelter-In-Place site Tuesday at the Salt Pond Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A county truck filled with debris from Salt Pond Beach Park area is waved through the road-closed checkpoint Tuesday in Hanapepe.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Danny Collins, a resident of Salt Pond Beach Park in Hanapepe since 2014, right, stops and chats with displaced Shelter-In-Place campers, from left Allen Lee Jr., Ronnie Lee and Sam Darrah, Tuesday while the campers go shopping for needed supplies for their keiki.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Elizabeth Okinaka keeps an eye on her keiki, Tuesday while protesting the relocation of people in the Salt Pond Beach Park area at the road-closed checkpoint.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A county truck laden with picnic tables leaves the Salt Pond Beach Park area in Hanapepe Tuesday while checking out with the road-closed checkpoint.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A resident of the Salt Pond Beach Park area uses a bicycle to transport his belongings past the road-closed checkpoint Tuesday in Hanapepe.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A lifeguard walks to the Salt Pond Beach Park tower Tuesday while workers start tree trimming in the Salt Pond Beach Park that was closed while Shelter-In-Place campers were relocated from the park in Hanapepe.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Representatives from several government agencies assess the Salt Pond Beach Park Shelter-In-Place encampment Tuesday morning in Hanapepe.

HANAPEPE — Cars were turned away Tuesday in front of the Hanapepe Veterans Cemetery as the houseless of Salt Pond Beach Park and adjoining areas were evicted.

The park closed last Wednesday, June 30, signaling the end of the county’s Shelter-In-Place program that allowed the houseless community to live on county-owned beach properties throughout the coronavirus pandemic and have access to running water and electricity.

However, many residents, with nowhere else to go, stayed at the site.

A Kaua‘i Police Department convoy, as well as other county departments and various agencies including the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and Sheriff’s Office, made its way to Salt Pond around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

“Multiple agencies responded this morning to assist illegal campers in vacating the area so that the county can conduct maintenance, repairs and restore the area,” Assistant Chief Mark Begley said in a statement. “Most of the illegal campers have been cooperative.”

KPD reported two arrests Tuesday afternoon, for “refusing to comply with multiple requests to vacate the area,” a KPD spokesperson said. A notice of violation states that illegal camping will result in fines of $100 per person per night, the use of illegal structures in a fine of $500, and abandonment of property another $500.

“Please note that the campers had at least two months of warnings prior to today, and they were also offered multiple opportunities for available assistance,” the spokesperson continued.

Allen Lee Jr. reported that campers were given verbal notice and then told they needed to leave the area.

“Now we’re back to the same position,” Lee said.”Where do we go without being arrested or harassed? How can we get out of being homeless if we have to keep buying all our stuff back?”

The Salt Pond area includes state, county, federal and private owners, including DLNR, U.S. Coast Guard, Gay &Robinson and the state Department of Transportation Airports Division.

“There are several properties in the Salt Pond area of Kaua‘i that have become targets for dumping and squatters,” DLNR spokesperson Dan Dennison said in an email. Kaua‘i DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement personnel concentrated on its designated lands, Dennison said.

Dennison reported two petty-misdemeanor citations for being in a closed area and no arrests as of Tuesday afternoon on these state lands. Notices to vacate the area by June 30 were put up on June 15.

Salt Pond is anticipated to reopen toward the end of July, and will reopen for day use only on Saturday, July 10.

When the park reopens to camping, it will only be for recreational use, according to the county.

Tuesday, truckloads pulled out items left behind at the site, as well as picnic tables.

Later in the day, residents of Salt Pond, Tess Schleihs said, continued to wait on word on where to go and where their personal items are going.

Last week, on the date of the Salt Pond closure, Schleihs noted the difference between “homeless” and “houseless.” Over time, she realized that those who are “houseless” lack that, a house.

“I used to think they were one of the same,” Schleihs said. But the community at Salt Pond, she said, became a home, as well as a community. The closure of the park signified becoming homeless, she said.

•••

Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

10 Comments
  1. RGLadder37 July 7, 2021 2:45 am Reply

    Evicted. And no where to go. Why don’t you try sleeping at another location? Like Polihale. Nice area. Just no food and water near by.


  2. Eku July 7, 2021 2:52 am Reply

    Good thing Hawaii is Democratic majority run State. Otherwise the media and elected officials across the nation would be critical of this action, but as it is, there is no fanfare.


  3. Kimo Edwards July 7, 2021 8:02 am Reply

    They supposedly “closed” Lydgate over a month ago, but the homeless are still everywhere in the park. No enforcement, letting them wait around until we clean up their mess and let them move back in to the campground. No rules, no enforcement. The county staff drives right by them and around them every day and do nothing. We want our parks back! Would The Garden Island please report about this and stop with the “poor me got nowhere to go” nonsense.


  4. therealhawaiian July 7, 2021 9:52 am Reply

    So when are you going to eliminate the illegal camp across from the Kapaa/Kealia lookout near the fire station? It’s an additional traffic hazard along that stretch of our highway that has seen way too many deaths over the past years! These individuals and children need to be helped and moved to a suitable and safer location, for them!


  5. knowitall July 7, 2021 10:40 am Reply

    It is a shame how the state treats Native Hawaiians. They should be given preferential treatment into housing until the state gets serious and funds more housing on Hawaiian Homelands… OHA is inept


  6. Joe Public July 7, 2021 2:45 pm Reply

    Rotate them. Send them to Poipu Beach Park for a month, then send them to Haena Beach Park, then Black Pot, Anini and so forth. Everyone has a comment when it is not in their neighborhood. When it is in your back yard, you will understand


  7. Richard Blake July 7, 2021 2:55 pm Reply

    Who says a home has to be a house? A tent is a home, too! I am sure the rich look down at houses under 10,000 sq ft as tents, so are we being any better?


  8. GarlicFrenchFries July 7, 2021 8:10 pm Reply

    Tax payers money or let the government pay for it. You guys found them first. All of everybody else ignores the poor. Give the bill to your county council.

    Any other ideas?


  9. Rev Dr Malama July 8, 2021 8:48 am Reply

    Pursuant to the Hawai’i Governor’s Emergency rules, these people’s rights are surely being bulldozed without due process including Aministrative Hearing and the opportunity to STAY the proceedings due to DURESS!!! THE LAW AND THEIR ENFORCEMENT NEEDS TO FOLLOW THE RULES OF LAW….
    Many crimes are punishable against employees of the police and other agencies that bully the elderly, impoverished and disabled in their “2 month notice” take it or leave it ultimatum…..
    The aggrieved persons may want to petition for Criminal charges against the COUNTY AND STATE.
    Ask for legal representation not by State or county defense attorneys due to conflict of interest laws but private attorneys are nessasary as I have advised for the last 10 years….
    Mahalo KE AKUA


  10. alien July 8, 2021 10:43 am Reply

    Strange how Derek is never around for the photo op in these situations? But if people are handing out free food he is smiling for the camera.


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