City issues permit for tent city

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Release Date: Oct. 18, 2013

On Oct. 18, the city of Sammamish issued a 60-day, temporary-use permit to Mary Queen of Peace Church so an encampment for the homeless could be established on the church grounds. The encampment, located just west of the church buildings, was scheduled to begin setting up on Saturday, Oct. 19.

Under state law, religious organizations are allowed to provide such space and assistance to those in need. Kamuron Gurol, the city’s director of community development, says Tent City 4, the organization in charge of this encampment, has a good track record.

“Both our city staff and police department have researched this and we’ve received good reports,” Gurol said. “Other cities say their internal code of conduct is effective, and there’s been very little impact on neighbors.”

Over the course of its stay, the encampment will be monitored on a regular basis by city staff and the police department. Preliminary meetings have already ensured that the tent city will comply with applicable fire and land use codes.

“Tent City 4 has been doing this on the eastside since 2004,” Gurol said. “Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Redmond have all provided space for these kinds of encampments. Many of the residents leave during the day to either work or find employment. The encampments provide them with a safe place to sleep and keep their belongings.”

The encampment coming to Sammamish was most recently located in Redmond. Although the city’s permit is only for 60 days, Mary Queen of Peace has indicated it will apply for a 30-day extension. Residents with questions can call Mary Queen of Peace Church at 425-391-1178 or Tent City 4 at 206-618-3901.

To view the city-issued permit, click on the link below.