Sammamish church eyes welcoming Tent City 4
October 8, 2013
By Peter Clark
Public meeting is set for Oct. 11
Tent City 4 might move to Sammamish.
Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church will hold a public meeting Oct. 11 to provide information and gather input from the community about possibly hosting the homeless encampment, which provides meals and overnight shelter.
After the meeting, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the church social hall at 1121 228th Ave. S.E. in Sammamish, the pastoral council will meet and likely develop a recommendation for the Rev. Kevin Duggan.
Rich Shively, pastoral administrator, said Duggan will have the final decision and will likely make his announcement the weekend of Oct. 12-13.
Shively acknowledged that time frame does not give the city of Sammamish much time to process the needed permit for the encampment. He said that the church has begun discussion with the city about what sorts of information they’ll need to process the permit, but has not yet formally begun the permitting process.
Organizers from the Tent City community received a shock late this summer when Bellevue, whose turn had arrived to host the traveling tented encampment, denied Tent City 4’s return.
“There are now two campsites on the Eastside,” Elisabeth Maupin, coordinator of the Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition, said, explaining the current Bellevue situation. “The other campsite had already filed for a permit to stay in Bellevue. And because Bellevue has a codicil that only allows for one campsite, the other camp was rejected.”
The encampment, which currently resides in Redmond, could find no potential host. The camp typically stays at each site for 90 days.
Because Tent City 4 must evacuate the present site by Oct. 19, an emergency meeting was held Oct. 1 to brainstorm possible locations to house the camp as autumn begins.
Twenty-one people, representing regional churches, charity organizations, local governments and Tent City 4, met at Issaquah’s City Hall to discuss a future location.
Though Tent City 4 was previously housed three times at the Community Church of Issaquah, the church has since sold its building, leaving no alternative in the city. Issaquah churches face a number of logistical hurdles in welcoming back the encampment, which quickly led the meeting toward considering a place in Sammamish.
Duggan said there is the space available on a grassy area behind the church, but wanted to create a community dialogue before agreeing to host.
The Sammamish City Council has also talked about the issue. The city would have to issue a permit for the encampment. Such a permit does not require public notice or have a public process.
Sammamish Review Editor Ari Cetron contributed to this story.