[Hpn] Dozens protest tent city's move to Finn Hill church

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 16 Nov 2004 09:58:25 -0500

Dozens protest tent city's move to Finn Hill church

Full story: 

By Kelly Kearsley
Seattle Times Eastside bureau

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES Jane Robson, center, was among the dozens of 
people at Juanita Drive and 98th Avenue Northeast in northwest Kirkland 
yesterday, protesting the placement of a tent city in the Finn Hill 
neighborhood. E-mail this article Print this article Search archive Most 
read articles Most e-mailed articles From a Kirkland street corner, more 
than 70 people yesterday voiced their opposition to Tent City 4's pending 
move to a nearby church in unincorporated King County.

The group chanted "Ron, Ron, say it ain't so," a reference to King County 
Executive Ron Sims, at the intersection of Juanita Drive and 98th Avenue 

Supporters of the roving homeless camp mustered about 30 of their own across 
the street, holding signs touting kindness and waving church banners.

Tent City 4, now in Woodinville, plans to move Saturday to the grounds of 
St. John Mary Vianney Catholic Church in Finn Hill.

The camp's temporary-use permit in Woodinville expires Monday. But St. John 
won't receive its permit to host the camp before the move, a frustration for 
many protesters yesterday.

Stephanie Warden, director of the King County Department of Development and 
Environmental Services, said the county expects St. John to follow through 
with the permit application but has no plans to file an injunction against 
the church.

The county is accepting public comment on the issue through Dec. 2.

Other tent-city opponents said they are concerned about the camp's new 
location near homes and schools.

Finn Hill resident Julie Force, 44, plans to install a security system in 
her home once the tent city arrives.

"It's horrible to live in a community where you thought it was safe, and 
then have something like this," Force said.

The Rev. Kevin Duggan, pastor at St. John, said the church plans to hire a 
private security service to give neighbors some peace of mind.

Woodinville police Sgt. Scott Strathy said the tent city has required 
minimal resources from city police.

Officers there have made 179 visits to the camp, most of them safety checks 
initiated by police. Five people trying to enter the tent city or associated 
with it have been arrested, including one man yesterday afternoon.

As part of a background check, tent-city residents noticed the man had an 
arrest warrant and called police. The man was wanted on a felony escape 
charge, Strathy said. He didn't know from where the man had escaped.

The invitation to host the tent city has caused some members of St. John to 
leave the parish, including Kathy Youtsey.

A mother of two children who attend school near the church, Youtsey said 
she's suggested alternative locations for the homeless camp.

"If we want to find a way to help them, then we need to find them some 
shelter, not a tent," she said.

On the opposite corner yesterday, supporters of the camp said its Eastside 
presence has opened many eyes to homelessness - and offered ways to help. 
Among the supporters were representatives from at least seven churches. Many 
are also involved with the loosely organized Eastsidecares.org, which plans 
to coordinate meals and other services for the Finn Hill tent city.

For Julie Avila, helping neighbors - homeless or not - is something she 
expects of herself and others.

She's received some heat for her vocal support of the tent city - including 
her trash being dumped all over her yard after one public meeting on the 

It didn't faze her.

"We just put a sign in the yard that said 'Thanks, but you didn't change our 
minds.' "

Kelly Kearsley: 206-464-2112 or kkearsley@seattletimes.com