DNR begins liveaboard eviction process

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sent letters on Nov. 12 to the registered owners of vessels in Eagle Harbor, which signals the first step in evicting members of the harbor's liveaboard community.

According to the letter, the notice informs boat owners that they have until Dec. 15 to remove their unauthorized vessel from the harbor or they will be subject to fines or DNR taking "other lawful actions to remove [the] vessels."

Liveaboards must move their vessel to a shoreline marina with space available. Those who do not live on the vessel must either move to a marina or to a location five miles away from the Eagle Harbor, according to the letter. All buoys and associated anchorage must be removed.

In September, the City Council voted against entering a lease with DNR for an open-water moorage and anchorage area. The open water marina was an effort to protect the liveaboard community and find a legal alternative for the approximate 12 to 20 residents who have lived in the harbor for decades. In a heated meeting councilors cited a number of concerns including costs, marina management and the existing marina regulations as their barriers to entering into a lease.

In the absence of a lease negotiation, DNR officials stated they are forced to act on the boats, which are trespassing on state property.

"DNR worked in good faith with the city to resolve this situation, but given their lack of action, DNR must enforce state law. As a result, DNR must take action to address the trespasses within Eagle Harbor," stated the letter.

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