City OKs permit before Tent City 4 returns to Issaquah church

October 7, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 7, 2011

Tent City 4, a camp for up to 100 homeless people, is poised to return to a local church Oct. 21, after the city issued a permit for the encampment Tuesday.

The encampment is due to remain in the Community Church of Issaquah parking lot from late October until Jan. 21. Tent City 4 remains in a place for 90 days, and then residents pack up and relocate to another Eastside church.

Organizers need donations and volunteers to help relocate the encampment from a Bellevue synagogue to Issaquah.

Community Church of Issaquah is along Mountain Park Boulevard Southwest, about a half-mile up the Squak Mountain slope from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Tent City 4 operates under a strict set of rules outlining residents’ conduct.

Under Tent City 4 rules, residents must be adults. Most residents leave the encampment during the day to work. The community elects a camp executive committee, a group responsible for running day-to-day operations. The campsite features 24-hour security.

Organizers conduct warrant and convicted sex offender checks on people requesting to stay at Tent City 4. The camp bans offenders from the premises, and rules prohibit alcohol, drugs and guns inside the encampment. For rule breakers, banishment is a possible punishment.

In June, Community Church of Issaquah congregants agreed to allow Tent City 4 to settle on the church’s parking lot. The encampment also stopped at Community Church in August 2007 and January 2010.

The encampment settled in Bellevue at Temple B’nai Torah in July.

SHARE/WHEEL, a Seattle affordable housing and homeless advocacy group, started Tent City 4 in 2004. The organization operates a similar encampment in Seattle, Tent City 3.

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