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Skirmish Over Houseboat In Richardson Bay

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  • Skirmish Over Houseboat In Richardson Bay

    A Marin County housing activist was arrested Thursday on a houseboat that had been illegally taken from a government boat crushing yard in Sausalito, the city said.

    Police removed Robbie Powelson — carrying him part of the way and dragging him the rest — in front of a group bystanders who were either crying, recording or jeering.

    Powelson, 26, was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and resisting arrest, said Sgt. Stacie Gregory. Police detained him at headquarters and released him within an hour. He was assigned a court date of May 6.

    By LORENZO MOROTTI | Marin Independent Journal

    A man from the homeless encampment yells to police guarding a houseboat about to be towed at Dunphy Park in Sausalito on Thursday, March 25, 2021. T
    (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

    The houseboat was owned and inhabited by Diane Moyer, 75, an artist and environmentalist, until her death on Monday. Within 48 hours of her death, the houseboat was seized by Curtis Havel, the harbormaster of the Richardson Bay Regional Agency.

    The houseboat was taken to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers debris yard in Sausalito on Wednesday. The Richardson Bay agency has been clearing boats deemed unseaworthy and debris from the inlet as part of a controversial “transition plan” for the San Francisco Bay Conservation Development Commission.

    By Thursday morning, the houseboat was sitting offshore near the homeless camp the city has been trying to evict at Dunphy Park.

    Mayor Jill Hoffman said the houseboat had been illegally taken from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and illegally anchored in Sausalito waters. It has been returned, she said.

    Hoffman said two parents and a child boarded the vessel on Thursday. While officers were escorting them off, Powelson interfered, according to the police department.

    Housing activist Robbie Powelson is taken off a house boat and to a police car by Sausalito police officers after being arrested at Dunphy Park in Sausalito on Thursday, March 25, 2021.
    (Lorenzo Morotti/Marin Independent Journal)

    Powelson’s lawyer, Charles Dresow, said his client was neither trespassing nor obstructing a lawful government order.

    “The ABC agencies are seizing things that matter to people and destroying them without benefit of either a warrant or providing due process,” Dresow said. “The alphabet soup of agencies aren’t entitled or empowered to operate outside the bounds of our Constitution.”

    Jeff Jacob, a mariner who lives on Richardson Bay, said the houseboat is filled artwork, photographs and other possessions belonging to Moyer and her late husband Larry, both prominent figures in the anchor-out community. Jacob said locals feared the boat and the contents, much of it dating back to the “houseboat wars” between residents and governments from the 1950s to the 1970s, would be crushed.

    Paul Mowry, pastor of the Sausalito Presbyterian Church, said the situation could have been avoided.

    “Diane was very connected to community and to have her home taken away unceremoniously, within 48 hours of her passing, was incredibly traumatizing,” Mowry said. “What I saw today was grief-stricken people who were trying to protect the legacy of their friend.”

    A houseboat is towed away from the homeless encampment at Dunphy Park in Sausalito on Thursday, March 25, 2021.
    The houseboat, tagged for destruction, was brought and moored next to the homeless encampment at Dunphy Park to prevent it from being destroyed.
    The houseboat was eventually towed to the Army Corps of Engineers dock. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

    Hoffman said the harbormaster took control of the houseboat with permission of the Moyer’s next of kin. But Powelson said he was given permission to be on the boat by Moyer’s brother, Irwin Karasik.

    Karasik, 79, confirmed that he gave Powelson permission to be on the houseboat. He said his sister lived on the boat for about 40 years.

    “Diane and Larry were friends with a bunch of other people who were free spirits,” he said. “She was a living hippie until she died. She was always a hippie.”

    He said his sister’s home was a navigational hazard and he is now in legal process of transferring ownership to someone who promised to restore the houseboat under the condition that it does not return to the anchorage.

    Powelson said supporters have secured a berth in Greenbrae to restore the boat and are launching a fundraising effort.

    Havel did not respond to a request for an interview.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    I can see the frustration on both sides, but I think that the harbormaster acted too swiftly.


    • #3
      looks a lot like the pub in Jack London Square


      • #4
        Gone Too Far?

        This video was submitted by an anonymous person. The boat in the video had been anchored in Richardson Bay near Sausalito Calif. Onboard were one human occupant and one small pet dog. On April 2, 2021, the boat was towed to a dock with both occupants on board. At that point the massive police action you see here took place. Immediately after this video was captured and the occupant forcibly removed after gunfire by officers, and a fire erupted, the still-smoldering boat was towed into a yard and crushed. As of the publishing of this video segment, it is assumed the pet dog died either in the fire or when the boat was crushed.

        Lawrence White
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          Were they trying to destroy evidence?