[Hpn] Police Sweep Homeless Man From Augusta Riverside Cave

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 29 Sep 2005 08:01:50 -0400

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Police remove homeless man from Augusta-riverside cave

Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- A 43-year-old transient who carved out a home in the rocks and
dirt of a Kennebec riverbank was picked up by police Wednesday afternoon.
Randy Reed was picked up about 3 p.m., said Augusta police Sgt. Mark
Desjardin, and taken to a hospital for psychological evaluation.
"It doesn't look like he's been arrested. It looks like he is headed for the
hospital," Desjardin said at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, Augusta police Sgt. Michael Toman said city
officials wanted to act carefully to find the best solution for Reed and the
"We're still evaluating everything we have to make the appropriate
decision," Toman explained.
City officials are concerned about erosion and damage caused to the riprap
and nearby parking lot pavement by Reed's excavation along the river. City
public works officials determined he had caused more than $2,000 worth of
damage along the river.
But they also said they were concerned about Reed's safety, particularly
with the onset of colder weather.
Reed's intensive earthmoving reshaped as much as 100 feet of the
rock-covered riverbank just north of the former Colonial Theater building
and below a paved city parking lot in downtown Augusta.
Acquaintances say he lived along the riverbank since last winter, when he
was ousted from a nearby building.
Reed dug out a multiroom home for himself from the rock and gravel along the
riverbank. Covered only with scraps of plywood and plastic sheeting, the
shelter would not have protected him from winter weather, police said.
Tuesday, police had warned Reed he would be moved by force if he did not
agree to leave voluntarily, and threatened him with arrest in an effort to
force him to submit to mental-health treatment.
John Applin, executive director of the nearby Bread of Life Ministries, said
police and caseworkers were out searching for Reed much of the day
After news reports about Reed were published Wednesday, Applin said an
emergency meeting was held between city officials, police and high-ranking
state human services officials trying to decide how to respond.
Reed's supporters said the homeless man has disabilities that often
interfere with communication.
"After the paper hit the community, they called a big powwow," Applin said.
"If they can get him in a hospital and get him on medication, he'll have a
much better life, and that could have been done six or eight months ago.
"Do we have to do this," Applin asked, "write to the newspaper and the
governor for every person like this in the state of Maine?"

Gary Remal -- 623-3811, Ext. 518