OAKLAND -- Phillip Lewis, one of the final two known campers on the Albany Bulb, was arrested on June 4 at the Bulb less than a week after he and his girlfriend were removed by force by Albany police.
According to Albany City Clerk Nicole Almaguer, about seven grams of methamphetamine and about 18 grams of heroin were found in Lewis' backpack. He was also found with syringes, according to Almaguer.
Lewis was arrested in the evening for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of a controlled narcotic substance for sale, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance for sale. He was taken to Santa Rita Jail.
Lewis appeared in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for June 23. The judge also issued an order for Lewis to stay away from the Bulb.
"By virtue of this arrest, he has given up his right to enjoy this particular slice of earth," Judge Gregory Syren said in court.
Lewis was released on bail. He had no comment after the appearance. Neither did his attorney, Jeffrey Kaloustian, when asked where Lewis would go now that he can't go to the Bulb.
According to Almaguer, at the time of the arrest, Lewis told police that someone else was with him but would not identify them. Police said they found no one else on the Bulb. Lewis' dog was impounded with Berkeley Animal Control.
Lewis and his girlfriend, Amber Whitson, were the final two of an estimated 60 homeless people who were camping on the Bulb one year ago. Whitson has said the couple have lived on the Bulb for seven years.
The homeless campsites date back at least two decades. The land, which once was the Albany dump, is scheduled to be turned over to the East Bay Regional Park District as part of the Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park and the district will not accept the land until it is unoccupied.
In May, 2013, Albany began a program to relocate the campers from the Bulb. Housing assistance was funded but the city also announced plans to begin enforcing its anti-camping ordinance. A lawsuit was filed by campers and their advocates and the city settled with most of the plaintiffs, paying each of them $3,000 in return for a promise to vacate the Bulb and not return for one year.
Lewis and Whitson were the only eligible plaintiffs to decline the settlement, choosing instead to ask the judge in the case to dismiss their claims without prejudice. The judge complied with their request.
Lewis and Whitson were arrested on May 29 in a pre-dawn raid by police. A supporter, Erik Eisenberg, was also arrested. They were all charged with illegal camping.