Time is up for campers living on private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. They are being asked to move out as the property owner works to clean up the site. Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson spoke yesterday with Code Compliance Officer Bill Sidor and owner Michael Lang, they decided that due to the rougher weather and softer ground they would give Lang until the 1st of June before enforcing a recent order to address unsafe conditions on the site. Simpson said the campers need to move along as soon as possible, as the property owner is tasked with the cleanup and has told city officials they do not want campers on the property.
The Code Compliance department last month served notices to vacate to the campers, and contacted property owners about the amount of trash that was piling up on vacant lots along the river.
Mayor Simpson, along with Sidor, and City Attorney Eric Nelson met with campers and advocates on Monday at the site of “River Camp.” Nelson said that even with the property owners approval – which they do not have, the city ordinance would have to change in order to allow camping on the property. “The last time we were down here was seven years ago. So tolerance is something that we have exercised. But we can’t legally permit, we can’t authorize, we can’t allow it because our laws don’t allow us to do that.”
Advocates have been trying to find some common ground – or even just some ground where the campers can live, but without a change to city code their hands are tied.
Listen to our entire interview with River Camp resident Natasha here.