Navy to let city clear large homeless encampment from Pearl Harbor bike path

Navy to let city clear large homeless encampment from Pearl Harbor bike path
Published: Jul. 20, 2017 at 10:49 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 24, 2017 at 1:51 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After years of complaints, the massive homeless encampment that spans the Pearl Harbor Bike Path will soon be torn down.

The Navy, which owns the land, has entered into an agreement with city officials in Honolulu that will allow them to clear all the camps located on federal property.

Enforcement will begin on August 7, the city says. Sweeps are expected to take several days to complete, but they're just a small part of what the city has planned.

Blaisdell Park will be closed between August 7th and August 31st for renovations. During that time period, the Pearl Harbor Bike Path will be off limits from the east side of the HECO power plant to Waimanu Stream. Folks who ride in the area will need to find an alternate route.

After that section is completed, the city is planning another sweep from West Lipoa Place to the Kalauoa Stream. That's considered phase two of the project.

"Part of the reason we don't have a date for that yet is that we want to work with the Navy and ask for their help clearing the mangroves, cause many of the homeless are in the mangroves," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "There's a lot of stuff there, but we don't have access to the water or Pearl Harbor."

In the meantime, the state is also planning an enforcement operation near Aiea State Park.

This afternoon, campers at Blaisdell Park were given notice to start packing up. Francis Cenal says he has lived there for nine years.

"I'm not nervous. I'm more mad. Pissed off. All I see in the newspaper is the neighborhoods complaining about the homeless," says Cenal. "That's because they're pushing us out of the public park. Where else are we going?"

Officials estimate that there are about 120 people living between the HECO plant and the area just Ewa of the Arizona Memorial. Outreach workers from multiple agencies will be offering shelter to anyone who wants it.

Over the years, the deteriorating condition of the path triggered an overwhelming number of complaints from joggers and bikers who've said they don't feel safe.

For years the homeless encampment was allowed to fester because of jurisdictional issues. The new agreement between the city and the Navy gives the county permission to access federal property for the next 10 years.

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