A group of citizens trying to remove vehicles and campers from private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen was turned away Friday morning. Coordinator Sam Hutchinson said they had plans to remove the RV’s that had accumulated there with the help of a large tow truck.
Several of the campers gathered with supporters near those RV’s and said that they were not going to let that happen. An Indian man in a poncho with a machete in his hand told the tow truck driver that “nothing is going to be towed today.” Shortly after that the tow truck driver rolled his window up, I distanced myself, then police arrived and gathered the leaders of the two groups to talk.
Officer Monte Glaser – after handing the machete to someone else and telling them to put it away, asked the campers how long they had been there. At least one camper answered, “Four years.” Our coverage of campers in that area goes back to a 2015 interview shortly after the city’s code enforcement officer handed out eviction notices.
Glaser told Hutchinson that he was going to have to go to District Court and get an eviction notice allowing him to tow the vehicles.
After talking with police, Hutchinson said Friday morning, “We came up in a show of community support, you know. There was a lot of community members that came out here with donations and planned on taking the vehicles, and all of the vehicles off. But when the officers came here they said there is a way to get this done, through the process of doing a total eviction on the land so it was by no means a loss.” His group has since started a gofundme campaign to fund those efforts.
The group Revival of Grays Harbor, A non-profit supporting the campers, said in a statement earlier last week that they “have signed the necessary paperwork and obtained enough in private donations to purchase a lot of land just outside of town. It is currently in the process of going through the other parties lawyers before they sign.”
The two-year-old group said they just recently ramped up their intern program at the storefront with plans to assist homeless in getting assistance like housing, employment, and counseling, using current resources in Aberdeen and Grays Harbor.