A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order to prevent Eureka's pending eviction of people camping illegally in the Palco Marsh. Kind of.
Courthouse News Services' Katherine Proctor, who was in court covering this afternoon's hearing, said federal Judge Jeffrey S. White granted a request for the restraining order, but not for all of the more than 100 people currently living in the marsh. Instead, White granted the order only for the 11 plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Monday challenging the city's May 2 eviction order. The rest, the city can still evict as planned Monday.
White ordered then ordered attorneys on both sides to draft a proposed order from the court by 5 p.m. tomorrow that will either allow the plaintiffs to remain in the marsh after the evictions or provide that the city will find a different shelter option for them that is agreeable to all parties.
Local attorney Peter Martin filed the lawsuit Monday, alleging the city was violating their constitutional rights by evicting them and criminalizing campaign within the city when there are insufficient shelter options to accommodate those being displaced. In a reply brief, City Attorney Cyndy Day-Wilson argued that there are sufficient shelter options for those who desire a legal alternative to camping in the marsh, and that delaying the scheduled eviction would jeopardize millions in grant funds, expose the city to liability and enable an ongoing environmental disaster in the marsh.
Read more about Martin's suit here and the city's reply here. And, check back here for Proctor's full report from this afternoon's court hearing.