• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 57s

Anchorage homeless evicted from illegal camps face many questions

By John Thain 11:20 AM August 23, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

“We got to get all the way out to Muldoon before it’s too late,” yelled the man as he dragged a heavy, wheeled suitcase down Chester Creek Trail. “I gotta get my family somewhere quick.”

He was walking quickly toward a pavilion in Valley of the Moon Park.

“We just need to get out of the rain right now.”

He calls himself Disciple and he’s been camping illegally in the woods near Chester Creek for “three maybe four months,” he says. Thursday night, Anchorage police told him and his fiancé, Aaron Hensley, they had to go.

Disciple dropped his suitcases in the pavilion, filled a water bottle straight from Chester Creek and took a sip, handing the rest to Hensley. It was raining and getting dark. They were only a few hundred yards down the trail from where police told them to leave. The park was closing soon, and they knew they were not allowed to sleep there.

So what now?

“That’s what we’re planning on doing is sitting here talking as a family to see where we will go next,” Disciple said. “We got a few ideas. But they are …”  His voice trailed off as he thinks about moving the six heavy suitcases through the night.

Using a handful of old cigarette butts, Disciple managed to roll a thin cigarette. He moved to Palmer from the Lower 48 in 2007 and has been off-and-on homeless ever since. He said he was just 16 at the time.

Twenty-one-year-old Aaron Hensley is Alaska Native.

“My mom is from Bethel, my Dad is from Kotzebue, and I was raised in Nikoli,” she said. She also has been off-and-on homeless for a few years. She prefers tent camping in Anchorage to the shelter. She doesn’t like many of the people who go to the shelter and she doesn’t feel safe there.

The light of day faded and the couple was still camped out in the pavilion. Disciple wanted to stay the night, risking another confrontation with police.

“My senses are saying they’re not going to be out here all night just to watch us,” he said. “We’ll be out at first light.”

Hensley was unsure of the plan but offered no alternative.

They lit a small propane stove and pull a thawed Tombstone pizza from a suitcase. Food is a priority — Hensley is pregnant.

“Right now it’s just ‘what would my family think?’” she said when asked how she feels about the pregnancy. She says her family doesn’t like Disciple, but she doesn’t care. “He’s the one taking care of me, he is the one who is there for me.” she said.

Disciple is still processing the situation.

“With you being pregnant, it puts a whole lot of stuff on our plate,” he said to her. “I’ll be honest with you, it scares the crap out of me. It scares me because I don’t know if I can be that father. I know I’ve got it in my heart to be a good person, and mentor, because that’s how my dad taught me. But what if I can’t support the money all the way properly?”

It’s one of many questions facing this young couple as they bed down in the pavilion for the night, just a short walk from the camp they were evicted from.

“It’s going to take us a while to find a new place, but I know we’ve got a good family around us,” Hensley said. “That’s about the only thing that matters. Family. We’ll find a place, we always do.”

 

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    In Juneau, Alaska lawmakers unified front against Obama’s latest announcements

    by Associated Press on Jan 28, 0:05

    Gov. Bill Walker says he will invite President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to visit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Walker’s announcement Tuesday came two days after Obama said he plans to recommend that Congress designate most of the refuge as wilderness, including its potentially oil-rich coastal plain. Alaska political leaders have vowed to […]

  • News

    Community to fight against Army cuts in Alaska

    by Bonney Bowman on Jan 27, 22:30

    The U.S. Army needs to reduce its number of active duty members from 570,000 to 450,000. That means 120,000 soldiers would be out of a job, and some of them could be from Alaska. More than 5,000 soldiers with the 4/25 Airborne Brigade Combat Team out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and about 5,800 soldiers with the 1/25 […]

  • Crime

    Former APD detective talks crime trends in Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 27, 21:55

    After two fatal shootings in less than 48 hours — less than a full month into the new year — crime trends in Anchorage have come into the conversation. Former APD detective Glenn Klinkhart sat down with KTVA 11 News to discuss if Anchorage has indeed seen an increase in violence.

  • Lifestyle

    New treatments available in Alaska for Hepatitis C

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jan 27, 20:55

    Hepatitis C is a disease that health officials say kills more Alaskans than HIV and AIDS, but according to state health officials, most of the people who have the virus don’t know it. State Hepatitis prevention coordinator Ginger Provo says more than 16,000 Alaskans have been infected with the Hepatitis C virus since the state […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Jan. 27

    by KTVA Weather on Jan 27, 20:20

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Expect slightly warmer conditions as the clouds push in. Prince William Sound will have highs in the 30s. Southeast Rain returns across the north and the south. Interior/North Slope In the Interior, expect very low temperatures. Fort Yukon will get down to 55 degrees below zero tonight. Expect partly […]

  • News

    Anchorage police: missing 14-year-old girl found safe

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 27, 18:56

    Last Updated Tuesday, 9:15 p.m. Anchorage police have located the 14-year-old girl and say she is safe. Original story Anchorage police are asking for the public’s help locating a missing 14-year-old girl who they say is vulnerable. Tika Simone Hawkins was last seen Tuesday morning when family dropped her off at Central Middle School. She […]

  • News

    Juneau committee approves waste management option in lieu of shipping waste

    by Shannon Kemp on Jan 27, 18:33

    The city of Juneau has had a waste management issue for more than four years now. The city’s sewage sludge incinerator — used to burn solidified waste — broke down in 2010. The Assembly Committee of the Whole has approved at least one option to deal with the problem. Currently, Juneau’s water waste is solidified into […]

  • News

    In Spenard, Celestial Sweets moves into former Sugar Spoon location

    by Heather Hintze on Jan 27, 16:00

    A popular Spenard bakery has a new owner and a new name. Celestial Sweets Boutique moved into the old Sugar Spoon location at the intersection of Spenard Road and 26th Avenue at the end of November. Owner Liz Madsen worked as a pastry chef at Kinley’s Restaurant and Bar for about three years. She says […]