Property owner speaks out after City of Eureka clears out illegal encampment

The property owner of a plot of land near Bayshore Way says he asked for the city's help in an abatement of the area that occurred on Jan. 24, claiming that some of the homeless living there were even threatening him.

"I was telling them you have to leave, you have to leave," said the property owner Eddie Kirkpatrick. "This one guy looked at me and says 'I know where you live, I could burn down your place.'"

Kirkpatrick says he originally allowed a homeless family live there, saying they had lived there for many years before the abatement occurred.

"The family came down and was living there for a couple of years," said Kirkpatrick. "I thought of the family as my own, one of the girls in the family, I saw her grow and I couldn't really think of anyone else I would want to share my property with than that little girl."

However, Kirkpatrick says eventually more homeless people began moving in and camping out there, and conditions worsened.

"What happened was that needles started showing up all over the place," said Kirkpatrick. "I went to the City for help and I asked them what they are going to do with all of these people."

The City of Eureka began said they received multiple complaints about the property, and began serving search warrants to clear it out. Officials say the encampment posed a threat to the surrounding environment due to things like makeshift construction, hazardous trash and illegal drug trafficking, according to the Eureka Police Department.

"Well, what can you do, of course there was drugs," said Kirkpatrick. "HACHR gives you a needle in an exchange, where do you think you go to shoot up at? I didn't see anything happen, but, I opened up one of the vehicles out there and I found 22 needles in there."

Kirkpatrick also says the month before, 12 dump trucks were used to haul out pounds of trash from the site.

"There was just too many people," explained Kirkpatrick. "They were living like rats, really. I mean, that's all they had though."

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