Yosemite Is Forcing Native American Homeowners To Leave Without Compensation. Here’s Why
The week before Christmas, residents of the El Portal Trailer Park got letters from Yosemite National Park saying they have to remove or surrender their homes by early 2022 because Yosemite has other plans for the trailer park and is worried about power lines there that Yosemite owns. Yosemite Is Forcing Native American Homeowners To Leave Without Compensation. Here’s Why
“Thank you, Park Service,” Luke Harbin said sarcastically, shortly after heavy snowfall recently covered the mountains surrounding his mother’s home near Yosemite with a thick coat of white.
Yosemite is not paying for mobile homes that residents own or moving expenses. Letters dated Dec. 13, signed by Yosemite Superintendent Cicely Muldoon, informed them for the first time that authorized tenants have to leave within 90 days.
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Harbin said his mother has worked in Yosemite for over 40 years and has lived in the trailer park for 38 years – 34 years in her current home. “It’s sad. Imagine losing your home after 40 years,” Harbin said while standing beside a community playground built by his father, who died a couple years ago, and other parents.
Mobile Homes In The El Portal Trailer Park Near Yosemite On Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Residents Of The Park Are Being Told To Move Out In 90 Days Or Less Without Compensation.
The 32-year-old has fond memories of growing up in the small community for Yosemite workers, including learning to swim in a swimming hole near his family home.
Tranquil El Portal, mostly populated by oak and pine trees, sits beside the Merced River and is about a five-minute drive from the west entrance of Yosemite National Park along Highway 140.
Yosemite owns land in El Portal, but not many of the homes that sit upon that land.
Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, Harbin said his mother spent at least $5,000 on a new metal roof for her double-wide mobile home that’s guaranteed for 10 years. She wouldn’t have done it had she known she’d be forced out without compensation two years later.
There are around a dozen mobile homes remaining in the community, along with some other smaller trailers. Many tears have been shed there since the December letter that told residents to leave.
Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said unauthorized tenants, including renters who aren’t supposed to be there, only have 60 days to leave. It’s unclear how many homeowners and others live there.
Gediman estimated there are about 12 residents, “plus or minus.” One homeowner estimated there are at least over 20 residents who are actively working for Yosemite.
Gilbert Domingues is among those who will soon be displaced. He was born in Yosemite Valley and spent most of his life living and working there. His aunt is Julia Parker – the face of Native Americans in Yosemite for many park visitors because of her longtime service at the Yosemite Museum.
“I just look at it as like I’m a Native American, and the government can take my land, so they are,” Domingues said.
Like the others, he’s not sure where he will go.
“There’s not much I can do really except just pack up and go,” Domingues said. “The government wins again.”
Gilbert Domingues, A Resident Of The El Portal Trailer Park Near Yosemite, Talks About Having To Find A New Home On Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Residents Of The Park Are Being Told To Move Out In 90 Days Or Less Without Compensation.
Why Do El Portal Trailer Park Residents Have To Leave Soon?
Trailer park residents received another letter from Yosemite’s superintendent in October, cautioning that the overhead electrical system was found to be in “very poor condition” in September and Yosemite “has contracted PG&E to fully assess the condition” – adding that “one potential outcome” might be Pacific Gas & Electric Company determining the power lines should be de-energized.
“If requisite repairs are not feasible, particularly in the context of the NPS’ long-term plan for the site,” then the National Park Service would “accelerate” the relocation of residents, giving them at least 60 days notice, the letter from Muldoon continued.
The letter said the site will be converted to a public and administrative-use campground for recreational vehicles, with campground construction slated to begin in 2024. Several residents interviewed for this story said the letter was the first time they were informed of the 2024 date.
“We are not requesting tenants to vacate housing at this time,” the October letter reads. “This letter serves only as a notice about the conditions of the Trailer Court’s electrical distribution system.”
A subsequent Dec. 13 letter, titled “NOTICE OF TERMINATION,” does tell them to go: “Based on follow up assessment of the electrical utilities and input from PG&E, park management confirmed that long-term operation of the current infrastructure is not viable.
Given the safety risks of continued operation the NPS is accelerating the closure of the Trailer Court and requiring authorized tenants to vacate their sites within 90 days of this notice.”
Some residents were told by others that the real reason they’re being forced to leave so quickly is because Yosemite wants to use the land as a staging area for construction equipment for various Yosemite projects starting this spring.
The recent letters to residents don’t mention that, but Gediman confirmed it when asked for this story. The site being used as a construction area is ironic to some who recall residents being punished with community service for disturbing dirt in their yards and park rangers there trying to protect elderberry longhorn beetles.
The area is also an archaeological site, with ancient mortar holes on boulders – circular depressions created by Native Americans while grinding food.
Gediman said some major, multi-million-dollar Yosemite projects that might benefit from the trailer park being used as a construction staging area include a new planned wastewater treatment facility in El Portal, work on Glacier Point and Tioga roads, and campground rehabilitation.
“This is the administrative site,” Gediman said of El Portal. “The area is designed to meet the administrative needs of the park. Again, with our budgets coming up and a need for staging area and temporary camping for the construction workers, this is the use that we need in order to operate the park.”
Yosemite recently redid power lines from Yosemite Valley to El Portal, but that didn’t include the El Portal Trailer Park.
PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said the company looked at El Portal power lines for Yosemite as a courtesy, not as a contractor. Boyles said the company isn’t sharing what it told Yosemite but that “there would never be a time where we would have any kind of authority to recommend a tenant be evicted for any reason.”
A worker who inspected the lines told residents there aren’t safety issues that warrant evictions. But if the infrastructure really is that bad, “why haven’t they been maintaining them?” Harbin asked. “We’ve been paying them this whole time, for years. Why aren’t they out here doing their job?”
History Of The Community For Yosemite Workers
The El Portal Trailer Park – also called the El Portal Trailer Park Village and El Portal Trailer Court – has been around since the 1950s.
Homeowners of the trailer park, who have to work in Yosemite to live there, were no longer allowed to sell their homes after the flood of 1997. Annual lease agreements for the land beneath them changed to say the closure of the trailer park would “continue to be implemented through attrition.”
Several residents said they understood that to mean they had to leave when they no longer worked for Yosemite.
One resident said there was once 58 occupied spaces in the trailer park.
There were plans to close the trailer park in 2000, but that changed in 1999. At that time, a previous Yosemite superintendent wrote, “Since the closure of the trailer village is dependent upon available funding, the January 1, 2000 closure date has been postponed. No new date for closure has been identified.” Another NPS letter in 2003 said, “this statement continues to be fact.”
Several residents said Yosemite didn’t share plans for the site with them – or a new move-out deadline or construction timelines – aside from the termination letters received in December.
Yosemite’s 2014 record of decision to preserve the wild and scenic Merced River – now a guiding document for park management and construction projects – talks about adding employee housing in El Portal.
Within El Portal’s trailer park/adjacent Abbieville, parking and camping spaces will also be added, the plan states, while employee housing facilities there within the floodplain “will not be removed.”
There’s also plenty of contradictions within the 200-page document, which, in another section, addresses removing or relocating some homes in the trailer park/Abbieville and restoring a 150-foot riparian buffer.
The plan says to “remove development, asphalt and imported fill” right after noting a 300-space parking lot would be added in that area – an archaeological site.
Changing and uncertain plans have left many residents unsure what to expect. Harbin said Yosemite was recently redoing sewage lines in the trailer park.
Gediman said park officials communicated with residents numerous times about plans to close the trailer park through letters and community meetings and that “our intentions have been this way for almost thirty years now.”
Harbin Has A Very Different Take: “They’re pulling a fast one on us.”
Challenges Include Little Time, No Compensation, Narrow Roads
Most who live in the trailer park now are older people who have worked in Yosemite for decades, residents said. They thought Yosemite would have given them more time to find a new place to live and move out – and not in the middle of winter.
Most of the homes in the trailer park can hardly be considered “mobile” anymore. Some have been there since the 1950s and have been retrofitted with various add-ons, like covered porches and attached sheds.
The chances are slim that many could be moved, even if residents have the money and want to, due to narrow sections of road past the trailer park. There’s been a one-lane bridge down the Merced River canyon since the massive Ferguson rockslide buried part of Highway 140 in 2006.
Going the other direction, the road just past Yosemite’s west entrance narrows to one lane as it squeezes through an opening between boulders.
For those who can’t or don’t want to move their mobile homes, Muldoon told residents that “you have the option of surrendering your trailer and/or belongings to the NPS. Recognizing that the property holds no value and is not considered a donation to NPS.”
Residents recall others in the past having to cut up and discard their homes themselves before leaving the trailer park.
A letter sent to residents over 20 years ago from another Yosemite superintendent said trailer park residents might be eligible for possible relocation benefits under Public Law 91-646.
There was no mention of compensation in recent letters. Why not? Gediman said that the National Park Service is terminating the lease agreement, and “we’re not addressing anything beyond” that.
It’s a harsh reality for those now scrambling to find new homes.
“We have rights and benefits as displaced people,” Harbin said, “and they’re trying to ignore all that.”
Most soon-to-be displaced residents now face either potentially renting a dorm room in Yosemite Valley or driving along the often-icy Merced River canyon to Mariposa, 40 minutes from El Portal.
Housing is limited in rural Mariposa County, especially at the rate trailer park residents were paying, around $400 a month for trailer space.
Some hope Yosemite will offer more time to move and said Rep. Tom McClintock’s office offered to review and endorse letters requesting time extensions.
“Congressman McClintock’s office is aware of the issue,” said Jennifer Cressy, a spokesperson for McClintock, “and expects YNP to fairly consider the circumstances in each letter request for a time extension.”
Shock, Pain And Neglect Near Yosemite National Park
Two Yosemite employees and trailer park residents asked not to be identified in this story out of fear of losing employment opportunities at the park.
One said they were offended by comments attributed to Gediman in a recent Mariposa Gazette story, in which the trailer park and its residents were described multiple times as “hodgepodge.”
“It’s the humanity part of it.”
The resident has lovingly worked on their small house for decades to make it a beloved home.
Plus, “How can they do this when COVID is still going on? It’s still active. It’s still spreading.”
About not getting compensated: “It’s just wrong. I know that eminent domain happens everywhere – it’s progress – but people get paid.”
Even a little compensation from Yosemite would be helpful, they said. This resident recently saw similar mobile homes in Mariposa being sold for over $100,000.
Residents also talked about wanting their community to look nicer. Harbin said after some previous trailers were torn out, there was trash littered across the trailer park for five years before Yosemite cleaned it up. In another instance, Harbin said he cleaned up some neighboring mess himself after Yosemite failed to do it after a couple of years.
“It’s messed up. It’s not fair,” Harbin said of the state of the trailer park. “If you go over to the elementary school, it looks prestigious, and you come over here, and it looks like, literally, a dump.”
Harbin said the Park Service owes trailer park residents at least some more time to leave.
“It’s just not right how they went about doing all this.”
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Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)
Why Does Amazon Want To Hire Blockchain Experts For Its Ads Division?
Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)
Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)
Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)
Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)
Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)
Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)
The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)
CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)
SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)
SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)
Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)
Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)
Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)
What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)
IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!
Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)
Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody
Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)
Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)
A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)
SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)
15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)
US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)
Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)
Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)
Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)
Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)
Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)
Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)
Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)
Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)
Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?
1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)
Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)
Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)
Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)
TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)
Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)
China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)
Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)
“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)
Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington
Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)
The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)
US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)
US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)
EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)
The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)
Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)
Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)
As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)
Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)
‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)
Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)
Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)
Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)
Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)
World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)
Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)
Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures
From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)
These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)
Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)
Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography
This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)
Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)
Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)
Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)
JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)
Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)
Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes
Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)
There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)
North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets
Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)
Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)
Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)
The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)
Recession Is Looming, or Not. Here’s How To Know (#GotBitcoin?)
How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)
Many U.S. Financial Officers Think a Recession Will Hit Next Year (#GotBitcoin?)
Definite Signs of An Imminent Recession (#GotBitcoin?)
What A Recession Could Mean for Women’s Unemployment (#GotBitcoin?)
Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Is Looking To Reduce “Marcus” Lending Goal On Credit (Recession) Caution (#GotBitcoin?)
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