Residents of the Riverview Mobile Home & RV Park in Earp, Calif. got a rude surprise just after Labor Day weekend when they were informed the Colorado River Indian Tribes were planning to close the park at the end of February 2020 and they all had to leave.
The park is on land held by the Colorado River Indian Tribes. The lease expired Aug. 31. A letter dated Aug. 30 was sent to all tenants. It was signed by CRIT Chairman Dennis Patch. It said the Tribes had studied the park and concluded it was not economically feasible to operate and maintain the park due to the age and condition of the infrastructure. He said the park would be closed as of 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.
The letter went on to say tenants are still expected to pay their rents in a timely manner. They also had to sign special leases or face eviction proceedings.
Park resident Rene Cooper claimed the previous management and the Tribes knew the park was in bad shape, and they knew of environmental problems with the park. They took no actions to remedy the situation.
“They knew it all and did nothing,” she said of the Tribes. “They watched it. They were a part of it.”
The previous lease holder, Steve Durand, and the former manager, John Thomas, told the Pioneer the problem was the infrastructure was old. Durand said he invested a lot of money in the park, and his request for a lease extension was denied by the Tribes.
The Tribes’ replied that the condition of the park was the responsibility of the lease holder. They added they gave everyone until the end of February to leave even though they didn’t have to.
Cooper and her husband, Danny Ingram, said the Tribes showed little sympathy for the residents. Many of them are elderly and don’t understand what’s going on.
Cooper and Ingram added they regularly smell odors from failing septic systems, and these systems lead into the Colorado River. They noted the holding ponds on the other side of Parker Dam Road hadn’t been maintained and were full of vegetation. They said they informed the Tribes’ Environmental Protection Office about this, and they also contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California state environmental officials.
Cooper stated California has never officially recognized CRIT’s control over land on the California side of the Colorado River.
A member of the Chickasaw Nation, Cooper said her tribe is very open about what they do. By contrast, CRIT tries to hide everything.