Police post eviction notices at Anchorage homeless camps

Rosemary Shinohara

Twenty police officers began sweeping through the city's largest illegal camps on public lands Monday afternoon, posting warnings that residents have 15 days to take their personal property, said police Lt. Garry Gilliam.

After that, the city can dispose of it.

This is the first big effort to clear out homeless camps since the city passed a law last month setting up policies for doing so.

Gilliam said the Community Action Police Team that he commands is organizing the sweep.

He said officers today through Wednesday will post notices in camps at:

• Third Avenue and Ingra Street;

• Commercial Avenue and Reeve Boulevard;

• Chester Creek from Ben Boeke Arena to Westchester Lagoon;

• Fifteenth Avenue and Sitka Street;

• Fifteenth Avenue and A Street.

"These are the ones that have high density," said Gilliam.

After the hot spots are hit, a smaller team will continue posting illegal campsites elsewhere in the city, he said.

The department expects some campers in posted camps will move to other illegal spots, and asks people who see any new campsites to call APD dispatch at 786-8900.

In April, the Anchorage Assembly approved a new plan for cleaning up homeless camps after a judge struck down an earlier law, saying it violated individuals' property rights.

Under the new law, the city can give homeless people either three days' notice or 15 days' notice to clear off public land.

If the city gives three days' notice, it would be required to store people's belongings for 30 days.

With 15 days' notice, the city can throw away whatever is left in a camp at the end of that period.

In the current enforcement effort, the city is giving campers 15 days' notice.

More about the homeless in Anchroage
By ROSEMARY SHINOHARA
rshinohara@adn.com