Of Campers and Cops: A Walk in the Palco Marsh With Chief Mills

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Tents lined the Bay yesterday but today, the tents are supposed to be removed and their inhabitants gone. [Photos and video by Bobby Kroeker]

This morning, large numbers of law enforcement, government officials, non-profit members, protesters and gawkers gather at the Palco Marsh as an estimated 100 homeless people are evicted. But, yesterday, Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills walked through the area on his day off almost by himself. Our reporter, Bobby Kroeker, however, was already there and asked to join him and ask a few questions.

Bobby unexpectedly juggled bike, camera, and questions to bring you this intimate look at the camps and the man in charge of removing the people staying there.

In the first clip, Chief Mills checks in on a camper. He asks “Manny” where he’ll be going. The man replies that he might have an apartment and if not there, he’s going to Miss Betty’s [Betty Chin, the well-known homeless advocate.]

Chief Mills talks about the money involved to make this operation. “This is an expensive deal,” he says.

As Mills walks through the area, he asks another man if he has somewhere to go when the camp is broken up. The man responds somewhat bitterly that he is moving back home with Mom and Dad.

Mills talks about the people who live in the camps. “This is a community,” he acknowledged. But he argues, the community has serious problems like “the high level of violence against one another.”

In the above clip, Mills tells a camper that he knows he had a meth pipe and then adds, “I wouldn’t be here tomorrow if I were you.”

Today, the campers and the cops meet. Will there be a clash or will the months of preparation pay off with a smooth transition for those being moved and those doing the moving?

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14 comments

  • Well maybe I can go to the mall again.ya I know what’s been stopping me.well an attempt to steal my purse and the things WE WORKED FOR in it.Only thing is all he got was a purse to the face and now talks in a high pitch squeak.Fun times

    • william tillman

      And it would not have cost them so much to remove them if the past and present government would have obeyed the laws already in place for over 15yrs.

  • Humboldt would be Paradise if we got rid of the bums, tweekers and growers.

  • kathy anderson

    Society, with the help of city and county officials refusing to make housing available to all income levels have created what is happening with the homeless. The failed Drug War made addictions prevalent because the black market was strengthened with criminalization thereby creating an alluring promise of big bucks to dealers who preyed upon the poor and gave fodder to their dreams of feeling good. POVERTY IS A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION. What people learned in the 80’s and 90’s in the DARE pgm and Just Say No were lies….you can see that by the fruits of those pgms….homelessness and prisons grown beyond imagination.

    • There is a limit to the number of low-incoming housing units that can be put into any city. Eureka has many. They are currently full, true. But they do exist. I do not believe it is incumbent upon the government to provide unlimited low-cost housing.

    • Thanks, that was the first intelligent comment I’ve read in a long time.

  • They will be back in less than a month .mills is gonna have to patrol the marsh daily. That’s the only way to keep them out of the marsh .

  • Mogtx is right. I know how it is, I’ve been homeless a few times in my life. I have never been ticketed for illegal camping, but I know some people who have. That is exactly what their plan was. They would leave for a couple days, then they’d come back to their original camp site. So, yes, it is very important to check the marsh daily! That is the only way.

  • This is why I don’t take that path to the mall or even as a shortcut to that side of town (by Costco). The danger risk is turning a beautiful trail to exersize and go on nature walks to a forbidden place to go for women and children. I truly hope this is successful!

  • It’s just gonna get worse people. The homelessness is not going away. We need good drug programs so these people can get clean. It’s to hard for people to get help with herion addiction in Eureka. Herion is not a drug that you just quit. We also need some job programs to help train and place people in good paying jobs. Maybe a job program that beautifys Eureka, like cleaning around the bay or whatever. Enough needs done in Eureka to keep them busy for quite awhile. How about all the empty schools around I think we should build housing, canceling, drug programs, ect. They could grow fresh food for the schools or the jail in the fields of the school. Or something it’s costing alot of money to move them, but we still have no solution. If we put them to work we will still be paying but we will get something back. It will also build up some self-esteem. It’s hard for a well dressed, housed person to find a job. Imagine being homeless no car, no shower, run down clothes trying to find a job. Bottom line these are people in need. We need a solution that helps everyone not just the homeless. So lets Beautify Eureka!

    • I know some don’t want to work but some do. More will want to work if they get off the drugs.

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