Two days after the Anchorage Assembly ordered Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to clear the vagrant encampments in the downtown area, the work began.
On site at 3rd Avenue and Ingra Street today were a half dozen police cars, miscellaneous other municipal vehicles, and men in masks, with signs and hammers to post notices around the sprawling shantytown that has grown along the ridge of a large vacant property.
It was a show of force by City Hall, which has appeared disconnected in its response to the growing squalor that has overtaken the ridge overlooking Ingra and 2nd Avenue. The workers who were assigned to the task also handed out masks to the squatters and directed them to the Sullivan Arena, where there is a social service hub set up in the parking lot. The squatters will have 10 days to clear out their belongings.
The Sullivan Arena and the Ben Boeke Arena next door has been taken over by the Berkowitz Administration as a temporary shelter for homeless individuals, to keep them in a less infectious environment. But many of the squatters at 3rd and Ingra either prefer life on the street or have been kicked out of the Sullivan for breaking rules.
Abatement of another encampment on the Chester Creek Trail, between Ingra and C Street, is also underway.