[Hpn] Tent City Offered A New Home

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 2 Aug 2004 06:55:23 -0400

Tent city offered new home


August 2, 2004

Woodinville church may host Tent City

In the heat of a summer Sunday, the Rev. Paul Forman walked into the woods
to extend an invitation.
He stood before Tent City 4, the homeless encampment in Bothell, and asked
its residents yesterday to come live by his church. He offered a parcel in
Woodinville, where the Northshore United Church of Christ is located.
"This guy came with all his heart," said Dino Ozuna, 51, a resident of Tent
City 4. "That surprised me."
For months now, Tent City 4 has sat at the center of controversy, raising
concerns about safety and fairness in a suburb that hadn't been warned the
camp was coming. Now the process is beginning again, as the land-use permit
for St. Brendan Catholic Church property in Bothell is about to expire, and
the tent city is gearing up to move elsewhere.
After visits to the tent city and talks with its residents, members of
Northshore United voted yesterday to offer about one acre of its land
beginning Aug. 14. The church must first complete the city's permit process,
which includes a meeting Aug. 10 at Woodinville City Hall.
The site is just off the Woodinville-Duvall Road, close to Leota Junior High
School and Wellington Elementary School.
The final vote was 57 to 3, with 4 abstaining.
"It's not something that we decided to do lightly," said Dennis Lone, a
leader in the church.
"But one of our core beliefs is that we are responsible for the welfare of
our neighbor, and our neighbor is anyone who needs help."
After the vote was taken, church members fanned out to about 400 households
in the neighborhood, offering a letter from the church, as well as the code
of conduct for Tent City 4. The church also will host two informational
meetings for the public Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. at 18900 168th
Avenue N.E.
Wandering around Tent City 4 yesterday, Paulette Bauman said she wanted to
see for herself what kind of community could come to her neighborhood. A
mother of two young children, Bauman lives a block away from the church.
"I try to base my decisions on facts, not fear, which is why I'm here," said
Bauman, a stay-at-home mother and PTA volunteer.
After a tour of the tent city, she described the tents as clean and
well-kept, and the mood as peaceful and quiet. But she still had concerns.
The 24-hour police presence outside Tent City 4 has been reassuring to some
neighbors in Bothell, which has its own Police Department. But the King
County Sheriff's Office already has indicated that it would not provide the
same level of supervision if the camp moves.
"It's not their intent to station an officer out there 24/7," said Marie
Stake, a spokeswoman for the city of Woodinville. "They plan on making
routine and regular contact."
Bauman said some of her neighbors already are rallying against Tent City 4.
But before Bauman makes any decisions, she has a list of things to do
including: Visit the tent city in Bothell. Talk to Woodinville officials.
Get a perspective from school officials.
"You want to help people and be kind," Bauman said. "But my ultimate
responsibility is to my kids, and to protecting them."

Cara Solomon: 206-464-2024 or csolomon@seattletimes.com

Copyright  2004 The Seattle Times Company