Kahana Valley families facing eviction claim victory
By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email
KAHANA VALLEY (KHNL) - Six families facing eviction from their Windward Oahu homes claimed victory Monday, after the state's deadline to vacate came and went without anything happening.
More than 100 people arrived at Kahana Valley before dawn to show their support.
Under the moonlight, a man delivers a Hawaiian chant asking the gods for protection. Then, with the 6 am deadline to vacate Kahana Valley fast-approaching, six families, surrounded by their supporters, prepare to fight.
"Make a chain, lock arms, and just stand tall," Ervin Kahala, Kahana Valley resident, instructed the group.
The families received eviction notices from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources last week.
"I telling the state right now, hell no. Hell no. We not moving," Kahala said.
The state purchased Kahana in 1970 in hopes of preserving the natural and cultural landscape. It issued residential permits to 31 families, but says the law doesn't allow for any other leases in the public park.
"This is where our ancestors (lived) for generations, six, seven, eight generations back," Lena Soliven, Kahana Valley resident, said. "That's what's wrong with that."
"You can see the support from all over. The cry is out," Kahala said as passing motorists honked their horns. "This is real touching for me."
Soon, 6 am comes and goes.
"No, no, we won't go. No, no, we won't go," children who live in the valley chanted.
When no one from the state shows up, the massive group rejoices.
"We are claiming a victory today," Soliven said as supporters cheered.
A lawmaker from the district arrives and says she talked to DLNR director Laura Thielen. Rep. Colleen Meyer tells the families they can stay in their homes for now.
"These people have a lifetime of belongings there and they don't have a place to move into," the Laie-Kahana-Ahuimanu Republican, said. "And, you know, it's just a PR nightmare. Why would a department of the state want to do that?"
According to Meyer, land officials now want to meet with the affected families and come up with a solution.