Campers Remain at Oppenheimer Park as Eviction Deadline Ends

Court ordered eviction deadline for residents of a tent city at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park has ended since 10 p.m. but many campers are still in place, whereas there is no indication of police immediately enforcing the notice. Vancouver Police Cst., Lindsay Houghton, mentioned that “the deadline has come and gone. We’re going to remain down here monitoring the park, we’re going to encourage people to comply with the court order,” adding that “we’ve been encouraged with what we’ve seen so far.”

In his remarks, Houghton alleged that although there are no plans as yet to arrest people overnight, “those plans can change as circumstances change.” He elucidated that “we don’t want to arrest people. That said, people do run that risk, they are breaching a court order, but at this point we’re encouraging people to leave voluntarily.” A statement issued by a representative city hall, Rena Kendall-Craden, stressed that “over a hundred people from the park have already been moved to shelters and housing units ahead of the court’s deadline and the number of tents significantly reduced.”

Kendall-Craden explained that “just today approximately 20 individuals at their request have been referred to shelters with their belongings stored by the City. Campers have been very respectful of the Judge’s direction and we expect this approach to continue into tomorrow. The City and Park Board staff with VFRS and VPD in support will continue the work in the morning to help people get out of the park as quickly as possible. Tomorrow some of the shelters will open earlier than usual to accommodate people leaving the park to get warm and out of the cold.”

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