Sheriffs, clean-up crews conduct homeless sweep under airport viaduct

Mike Oakland
Mike Oakland

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Several areas under the H-1 Freeway's airport viaduct are less cluttered, following a homeless sweep early Monday morning.

After packing what they can into shopping carts, several homeless people emerge from beneath the airport viaduct.

"Everything has been peaceful," Lt. Mike Oakland, state Department of Public Safety, said. "They are understanding. Our deputies have been understanding."

Sheriffs deputies swarm the area, making sure everyone's gone. They posted trespass warnings last Friday, giving the homeless until 7 am Monday to leave, citing public safety concerns.

"Weapons arrests, assault cases have come out of here, just a variety of criminal activity," Oakland said. "That's the main reason we're here."

Right away, sheriffs find a bullet-proof vest and possible evidence of copper theft.

We venture further inside to see what else is left behind. For someone, a couch and mattress became home.

Sheriffs estimate as many as 90 people may have been living in the tucked-away areas under the airport viaduct. Now, many are searching for a new place to stay."

"We can't pretend to understand their plight but, we have to treat them with respect but we also have to enforce the law," Oakland said.

Once the all-clear is given, transportation crews start tearing down the homeless camp.

"We have about 70 guys, about four different crews coming out here," Tammy Mori, state Department of Transportation, said. "They're going to really be bringing in the heavy equipment, and trying to clear up and clean up this mess."

Transportation officials say it may take up to a week for crews to clean up the area completely.