OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Mike Auderer is one of several houseboat owners told to get off state property, but his home is one of a kind.
Auderer and three of his fellow houseboat owners have been told by managers at the Martin Marina in Olympia it’s time to shove off. Several more houseboat owners at a marina across the Olympia Harbor received similar notices.
The State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is ordering marinas on public harbors to evict all houseboats by the end of next month. People who live aboard boats can stay but houseboats have to go.
“It’s unfortunate when it creates circumstances that are difficult for individuals,” said DNR Communications Director Peter Lavallee, “but the law is the law and we’re here to enforce it.”
Lavallee said the law is actually part of the state constitution and clearly states public harbors are for the navigation of boats and commerce. The state is concerned a growing number of houseboats could affect the rights of navigation. Live-aboard boats are okay, said Lavallee, because they can easily be moved.
Auderer said he doesn’t understand the problem. He and his neighbors are floating in just a few feet of water and do not affect any boats passing by. In fact his home is designed to make as small a footprint as possible.
Auderer said the “Sweet Pea,” named for its color, is a green certified home. It was built with eco-friendly materials and designed to use less energy than typical homes. It’s been featured in Sierra Club Magazine and will be profiled in an upcoming segment on the Travel Channel. He doesn’t want special treatment but said he and other houseboat owners need more than 60 days to pick up and leave or create a strategy to fight the eviction.
Lavallee said he feels for houseboat owners, but the deadline is final and the state expects marinas on state leases to clear out all houseboats within 60 days.
Private marinas are not affected by the state rule.