May 22, 2023 - News

Euclid Beach protesters crash Land Conservancy event

A trailer painted with the message, "WRLC: Residents Demand to Stay" with outdoor tents in the background an police SUV in the foreground

The Moreland Hills police arrived to escort the NEOCH trailer off the WRLC property. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

A protest at the Moreland Hills offices of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) culminated in testy exchanges and the presence of both the Metroparks and Moreland Hills police.

Driving the news: Chris Knestrick, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), drove a trailer onto WRLC's property during the organization's annual corporate breakfast on Friday morning.

  • Knestrick, with tongue in cheek, told Axios that NEOCH merely wanted to donate the trailer, emblazoned with messages in support of the residents of Euclid Beach, for auction at the event.

Catch up quick: NEOCH has been organizing on behalf of the mobile home community at Euclid Beach, which WRLC announced in February would be closed to make way for a public park.

What happened: A small group of demonstrators held signs and engaged with the breakfast's attendees as they made their way from a parking lot at the polo fields down the street.

  • Jared Saylor, WRLC's director of communications, said driving the trailer onto WRLC's property was "inappropriate," but he respected that Knestrick ultimately removed it when WRLC declined the donation.

What they're saying: "Organizationally, we support their right to gather," Saylor told Axios. "We respect the professionalism of NEOCH, and we knew they wouldn't put anyone in danger."

The other side: "Their donors deserve to know that WRLC is funding the displacement of an entire community when there are other options," NEOCH's Josiah Quarles told Axios.

What's next: The United Residents of Euclid Beach is hosting its own fundraiser, a benefit show May 28 at the Beachland Ballroom.


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