City boots RVs out of RV park

Tired of fielding complaints of drug use, narcotics trafficking and violence, the Port Orchard City Council on Monday voted 4-3 to shut down its RV park.

The vote came after a reconsideration of an earlier vote to sell the park and use the money to invest in a yet-unidentified piece of land. That measure, which came up at the April 8 council meeting, passed 3-3, with Mayor Jay Weatherill casting the tie-breaking vote. This time, the council voted 4-3 to keep the land, but to discontinue its use as an RV park.

The city hopes to at some point turn the five-acre piece of land, which overlooks the Blackjack Creek gorge, into a picnic area surrounded by nature trails.

“It’s probably one of the prettiest pieces of natural land in or adjacent to the city,” said Councilman Don Morrison.

The park’s neighbors are thrilled to see the oft-times disruptive park users getting evicted, a process which started first thing Tuesday morning.

Darlene Server, owner and operator of God’s Lil’ Acres day care, which shares most of its property line with the park, said she had been combatting the park’s influence as long as it has been in operation.

“With the day care here, it’s been just awful,” Server said.

She told horror stories of violent fistfights breaking out and drug deals being conducted in the open during daylight hours. One night, Server and a friend went to the park to interfere with a man who was severely beating a female acquaintance of his. Sever said the man pulled a gun on her, but she successfully managed to get the woman back to her home and treat her. Server called the police, but said both the man and the woman took off before police arrived.

“As soon as they turned it into an RV park it became a problem,” she said. “It’s been a constant thorn in everyone’s side on this street.”

The only RV tenants left in the park when the shut-down happened would not respond to requests for comment.

Although several council members expressed doubts as to whether anyone would use the land as a community park, Server welcomes the idea. She said she already uses the park property to host nature walks for her older charges and, to that end, keeps a trail to Blackjack Creek maintained as well.

Server did, however, express concerns over possible lingering security issues. Even though the park is now closed to vehicle access, Server pointed out nothing was keeping hoodlums on foot from continuing to use the park. Because the park is set off the end of Lundberg Street, which winds off Bethel Avenue into heavy woodland, Server said it is an ideal spot to avoid the eyes of the police.

“It would be very nice if they turned it into a park, but they’re still going to have to patrol it,” she said.

However, Server did say she now has a long history of keeping an eye on the park and is not about to stop now, even though the RVs have been eliminated. She wanted potential criminal park users to be advised: whatever they do there, she is watching.

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