How long until illegal shacks meet disaster?

After authorities kept dawdling and refusing to take action, canoe paddlers at Keehi Lagoon finally dismantled and disposed of a rickety illegal shack that was knocked loose by flash flooding from Tropical Storm Darby last weekend.  The mayor could have shown up in a union t-shirt to help out, as he has for other publicity stunts, but he and other officials were nowhere to be found.

The city is responsible for maintaining this park, and its lack of action regarding this mess was disgraceful.

Lots of other squatter dwellings remain on state land nearby or are floating along the shorelines as they have been for years, sometimes decades, while officials just look the other way.

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And just days after the flooding swept tons of trash and debris into the lagoon from illegal encampments beneath the nearby H-1 viaduct, heavy rains continue and the campers have returned and begun erecting new shacks and tents in the exact same place while authorities eat their doughnuts or do whatever they do when they’re not doing their jobs.

The residents of the shack that ended up in the lagoon are very lucky they weren’t swept out to sea by the flooding, and we’ll never really know if anyone else was.  It’s inexcusable that authorities have allowed these dangerous conditions to continue for so long, and are allowing them to return so soon after a dangerous storm and in the middle of hurricane season.

I was driving along on Nimitz Highway under the viaduct the other day when a shirtless man on a bicycle casually cut right across all five lanes of traffic and peddled to his campsite under the concrete median.  This stuff happens all the time and it is very dangerous to campers and to drivers, most of whom are not anticipating cyclists or pedestrians popping up out of nowhere and crossing their path.

The very least that authorities could do is set aside some safe places for squatters to build their own structures, and prevent any more from becoming a serious danger to the occupants and to others.

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