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RV Dwellers Near Berkeley Marina Face Evictions

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – Notices are going out in Berkeley to dozens of people living in RVs along the waterfront, telling them that they have to pack up and leave.

But many of those living in the RVs say they have nowhere else to go.

Police handed out red warning notices to roughly 20 RVs this weekend, saying move or get towed.

But on Thursday, about a dozen RV's remained parked on Berkeley's Marina Boulevard.

David Marcial, a former carpenter who lost his job due to work injuries, has parked his camper there for a year.

"They just keep harassing us. You know, we're not doing nothing bad out here. We're just trying to survive," Marcial said.

Among those living in RVs by the Marina are a UC Berkeley instructor, a Cal graduate student, and a family with three kids.

Many refuse to leave, saying there's nowhere else to go.

Amber Whitson also lives in an RV by the marina.

She said, "When you're capable of keeping a vehicle to live in, it's so much healthier and so much better for you, so much less of a risk compared to living in a tent."

The city says people started parking RVs at the Berkeley Marina about 18 months ago.

At one point, up to 70 RVs were parked out there.

Berkeley city spokesman Matthai Chakko said, "A number of people in boats and otherwise have reported break-ins."

The city says they received dozens of complaints from nearby businesses and people living on boats and boat houses across from the RV encampment.

Nancy Schimmelman lives across from the RVs and said, "We're very glad that the city and the harbor has finally supported our requests to get these people to move on."

Many boat dwellers sympathize with the people living in RV's because they too were pushed out by the housing prices. But they say some of the homeless are causing too many problems.

Hanna Malm lives on a boat in the Berkeley Marina. She said, "I've noticed different jugs of urine around the trash cans."

"There are loose pit bulls," Schimmelman said. "We used to be able to walk our dogs in the beautiful meadows over there. I don't dare go over there right now."

People living in the RVs say they'll stay as long as they can and that once the tow trucks come, they'll leave.

Berkeley has not said if, or when, it will send the police and tow trucks out to remove the campers.

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