In Kakaako, a line-up of junk cars proves a hard-to-tackle encampment

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At first glance, it looks like a junk yard.

Nineteen cars — nearly all of them in disrepair — line Coral Street.

Illegal campers have turned two rows of cars on both sides of the Kakaako roadway into a reinforced encampment. People and their dogs are living inside and in between the vehicles.

Heather Fillerup and her co-workers won't even walk down the street to get to their office at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center.

"We have to change our route. You don't feel safe," Fillerup said.

Just about every unmetered parking stall on Coral Street between Ala Moana and the University of Hawaii School of Medicine has been taken over by squatters.

By the looks of it, most of the vehicles won't start.

The manager at Cutter Chevrolet said the business has also been affected by the encampment. Earlier this week an illegal camper smashed out a window in one of their vehicles. An employee called the police when they found several people sleeping inside.

Loren Kawamoto works across the street from the car dealership in the Gold Bond building.

"This is the worst it's been," Kawamoto said, adding that no matter how early he get's to work there's no free parking near his job. He says his only option is to pay.

"Monthly parking inside the building. If not, the hardship of coming down every two hours to feed the meter," said Kawamoto.

The city say they're aware of the problem, but a spokesperson declined to talk about it on camera.

In a statement, the city said the encampment is straddling both city and private property, adding that officials are working with the owner to fix the issue.

In the meantime, some are wondering what's taking so long.

"It's been growing about a year now," said Fillerup.

Added Kawamoto, "That would be nice for us to have our parking back."

The city was not able to provide a timeline on when the vehicles might be moved.

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