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StarBulletin.com

Homeless evicted at Depots


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

After the eviction of homeless campers, Nanakuli residents were grateful yesterday for the newfound freedom to enjoy a cleaned-up stretch of white-sand beach commonly known as Depots.

“;It was sad, but now we can come down and enjoy,”; said Noe Lopes, 54, who saw the city's eviction yesterday morning. “;People were dragging their things across the road. They were trying to get their things out and the cops wouldn't let them.”;

Lopes and her niece, Tammie Mokiao-Atimalala, 35, brought their children to swim, body-board and play at the beach.

The city, which had given notice weeks in advance, evicted the homeless camping from Ulehawa Beach Park to Lualualei Naval Road.

They had been given until 10 p.m. Sunday, but many were still trying to move their belongings when the city and police rousted them before 8 a.m. yesterday, said city Parks Director Les Chang.

The four-day cleanup to ready the park for the Fourth of July includes a restroom makeover, so workers tore out toilets and sinks yesterday. Chang said the park will reopen at 3 p.m. Thursday, and the park will regularly close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to discourage illegal camping.

Chang said the beach cleanups, which began three years ago, came as a result of the community's pleas.

“;At least we don't have to worry about where the kids go,”; said Mokiao-Atimalala, a mother of five. While the homeless did not pose a threat to children, she is concerned the beach was contaminated with glass, drug paraphernalia and feces.

Lopes said she and other community members saw drugs being sold on the beach and went to their state representative to take action.

Residents said they were restricted to staying at one small area of Ulehawa Beach Park, while the homeless had the remainder of the long stretch of shoreline.

Lynn Naone, 43, said she's lived all her life across the beach from Farrington Highway.

“;It's just nice to see that our beach is back to being our beach,”; she said. “;Years ago, we used to walk right across the street and sleep right there.”;