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Friday, May 12, 2006 - Page updated at 12:49 AM

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Tent City 4 running out of places to go

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Tent City 4, which must move Saturday or disband, is facing another legal challenge.

The city of Woodinville will request a temporary restraining order in King County Superior Court today to try to prevent the homeless camp from moving to Northshore United Church of Christ this weekend, city officials said.

The camp, currently at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Bellevue, is in desperate need of a new home after a series of failed negotiations with churches and cities. Camp leaders say the camp of 70 residents will temporarily disband if a site isn't found.

Camp leaders have talked to several Eastside churches recently, but Northshore United is now their only option, they say. "There's nothing else on the table," said Don Goodwin, a resident and camp spokesman.

Northshore United sponsored the camp for three months in 2004, after the city of Woodinville passed a series of emergency ordinances to allow the camp on city land. After talks fell through with other churches, Tent City 4 and Northshore United approached the city a couple of weeks ago to see if it would welcome the camp on church property, at 18900 168th Ave. N.E.

But city officials said they had no time to adequately process the required temporary-use permit, which usually takes three or four weeks to approve. And a permit can't be applied for anyway, they said, because the church sits on land that is under a building moratorium.

The Woodinville City Council recently passed the moratorium affecting land zoned for one home per acre to provide more time for growth planning, said city spokeswoman Marie Stake.

The city will file for the restraining order because Northshore United has made it clear in public documents that it will host the camp even without a permit.

"It's our attempt to prevent them from violating the law," Stake said.

Paul Forman, pastor of Northshore United, said church leaders will decide today whether to host the camp without city approval. The outcome of the court hearing on the restraining order this afternoon will affect their decision, he said.

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Since forming on the Eastside two years ago, Tent City 4 is no stranger to court battles.

The camp moved to unincorporated King County near Kirkland in November 2004 without the required permits. A King County Superior Court judge issued a restraining order that required the camp to abide by certain conditions until it received the permits.

Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or abach@seattletimes.com

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