Campers remain at Tacoma park after deadline to leave passes

VIDEO: Many campers still at Tacoma park after deadline passes

TACOMA, Wash. — Under a pouring rain people camping in People's Park packed their things to leave. Some, like Travis Givens, didn't know exactly where they'd be going.

“It’s time to go, just time to go,” said Givens. “It would be nice to camp here.”

Stacia Murphy was luckier. She and her boyfriend had been selected to move into an emergency micro-shelter down the street. But she was worried about others in the park with nowhere to go.

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“Probably go post up somewhere else. Another camp spot for longer, you know. Or they just die off. Just leave or go to jail. It’s hard out here,” said Murphy.

Tacoma police handed out 72 hours notices for campers to leave the park on Friday, enforcing a new ban on walled tents in city parks. Many had been camping there for months. And some, like Lois Klomp, are still refusing to leave.

“Oh yeah, I am,” said Klomp. “Putting my foot down, enough is enough. You find us a place to stay and then we’ll be happy to move. But right now we don’t have a place to go.”

Volunteers handed out hot food under canopies as police kept an eye on things Monday afternoon. Many here expected a sweep by law enforcement, but it never came

Tacoma director of outreach and communications Tanisha Jumper said the city is working to get them all shelter first. But she added the park has to be cleaned to be safe for the public. Jumper said a decision will soon be made and the deadline to leave will come.

“And then we’ll decide when we know, OK this is the day we can go ahead and start cleaning the park,” said Jumper.