Thane Campground gets cleaning

'It's just that time' says Lands and Resource manager

Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thane Campground should open again in May after being shut down several weeks ago for spring cleaning, according to a city official.

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Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

"It's just time," said Heather Marlow, Lands and Resources manager for the city. "We went through and cleared out the camp debris and other structures that had been put up. Just little things here and there."

With the aid of Trail Mix, nine solid tent platforms were constructed and more are expected to be built later. The campground, located a few miles south of downtown, is predominantly a homeless and transient campsite.

Trail Mix also built a large garbage can enclosure and a covered storage shed at the campground entrance.

Alaska Electrical Light & Power removed trees and branch obstructions to open up the area, and a crew from SAGA will come in Saturday to help with some landscaping and labor.

Marlow said there won't be any immediate changes to campground policies, but said she is "working on management" regarding the campground.

Current Thane Campground manager Gordon Valle, who has also been a project foreman for Trail Mix since 2000, said the cleanup has been smooth.

"We have about 12 tent platforms up now," Valle said. "And we got rid of a lot of the wooden, trashy structures."

Valle did not know where the residents of the campground went while cleanup is underway.

A 51-year-old homeless Washington man was allegedly shot at the campground on March 30 by another camper, Chris Barrios, who was arrested a week later on charges of attempted murder and assault. Jon Gregory Lane, 51, was shot twice in the face but survived the attack. Barrios is awaiting trial on July 12. He pled not guilty to the charges.

Drinking and firearms are both prohibited at the campsite.

Valle said he will run a stricter campground once it reopens, and that he's been given the authority to do that.

"Before, I couldn't search through their belongings but now I will be able to," he said. "And I won't allow any intoxication. If someone shows up smelling like alcohol on their breathe, I will get rid of them. I am really going to try and motivate people at the campground to be employed and pay rent."

If a campground resident can't pay rent, Valle usually assigns chores for them to do on site.

"But I only have so many chores people can do," he said.

The Thane Campground receives few, if any, tourist campers. It was set up for the homeless, working poor and people moving through town looking for work. The recent shooting and arrest have brought an unfavorable light to the campground.

• Contact Klas Stolpe at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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