Lawyer For Homeless to End Appeals on Eviction Deadline
PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ A lawyer representing homeless people living at a makeshift camp on state land said Thursday he would not ask the Arizona Supreme Court for another extension of the deadline set for the squatters to vacate the site.
Fred Gerhard said there would be no further appeal because there was a strong feeling ″that it would not be successful.″
The state Court of Appeals earlier Thursday denied an appeal of a lower court ruling allowing the state to proceed with the eviction of the squatters from the camp, where as many as 200 people have sought shelter.
Noreen Sharp, who also had represented the campers, had argued that they should be given additional time to find other places to live because the state had allowed them to occupy the campsite for ″many, many months.″
The state Department of Transportation, which owns the land, said it considered the campers to be trespassers and ordered them to vacate the site by 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Foreman on Tuesday extended the Wednesday deadline by six hours, but refused to grant a further extension.
The Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a stay until Thursday’s hearing and extended the stay until noon Friday to provide time for an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Gerhard said about 30 people remained at the camp Thursday afternoon and that they had been told of the court ruling and advised to leave.
The transportation department had said Wednesday its eviction order would not immediately be enforced. Spokesman Paul McGonigle said department Director Charles Miller had decided the squatters would not be evicted, provided they are making a ″good faith effort″ to leave.
″There will be no police or any of that,″ he said.
The camp, spread over several acres along the Salt River in west Phoenix, was declared a public nuisance by the state Department of Health Services, which described it as ″an unsanitary, illegal campground with makeshift living quarters.″
The Rev. Harold Kueneman, who has been living at the camp since December, said many had found other places to live.
″Since this started receiving all the news media attention, we have found homes and jobs for 100 people,″ Kueneman said.