Craig and Joan discuss campers living on private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. Craig details “where we are now” with the city and the land owner. Joan details concerns for the health of the campers, and what the health department is looking for.
Joan talks about the county money set aside to address homelessness. Craig talks about some of the programs that CCAP has available to help those in need.
City of Olympia’s Mayor Stephen Buxbaum will speak about Civic Engagement in a Time of Rapid Change at Grays Harbor College on Saturday, April 18, starting at 1 p.m. Buxbaum will be speaking to the “Health From the Inside Out” class, which is part of the Evergreen State College’s Grays Harbor program. Members of the public are welcome. Buxbaum will be using examples from his more than 30 years of work in community and economic development to speak about ways that individuals and communities are rising to the challenge of climate change.
“Social, economic and environmental challenges are coming at us simultaneously and very rapidly” Buxbaum says. He believes that issues such as food and energy policy need to be addressed at a community and individual level if we are going to successfully meet these challenges.
The health of our community, and what the Public Health Department does to improve that. Joan also talks about Tobacco, and Marijuana use locally. This year’s numbers show a slight decrease for tobacco use. Are “E-cigarettes” off-setting those numbers?
Substance abuse and mental health issues in Grays Harbor youth.
Cleanup continues near the Chehalis River Bridge where several campsites along the river have been getting attention. Sources tell us the City of Aberdeen hauled out more than 20,000 pounds of trash last week. Campers and volunteers were using rakes to pile the trash Monday when we spoke to Natasha. “Although it is a problem, 60 to %70 of it is not the campers, it’s the trucks coming in at 2, 3, and 4 in the morning.” The former postal worker from Pacific Beach has been the unofficial campground host for about 8 months now, she said there’s really not an easy solution for folks that live there “It’s such a wide range of people down here for a wide range of reasons that everybody’s needs, and what’s going to help everybody, is going to be different from person to person.”
Tasha was 10 years into buying her own home, when – as she puts it “life happened and then the next thing you know I’m here.” Now she lives in the big blue tent that’s visible from the Chehalis River Bridge, it has a fireplace and space for guests. She said she spends a lot of her time helping others find food, clothing, or shelter. “And I mean I have plans not to be down here in the long run, but I also have plans to stay down here until everything’s fine.”
The city’s code enforcement officer handed out eviction notices giving the campers until March 31st to move out, that deadline was extended to April 13th after Mayor Bill Simpson spoke with land owners involved.
Other advocates are working behind the scenes to procure property and come up with a more permanent solution, however Aberdeen’s city ordinance still prohibits camping on private property – with or without the owner’s permission, an issue that has been addressed elsewhere at the city council level.
During our interview, Tasha explained why so many are choosing not to use other resources like the Union Gospel Mission. She also talks about life along the river before getting the recent attention, and what they are hoping for afterward.