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Originally published August 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 11, 2007 at 2:07 AM

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Tent City moves to Issaquah church

Tent City 4 was expected to move to the parking lot of the Community Church of Issaquah today. The roving homeless encampment has often...

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Tent City 4 was expected to move to the parking lot of the Community Church of Issaquah today.

The roving homeless encampment has often sparked community opposition — and legal battles — as it sought permission to move to various cities on the Eastside. But the sentiment from Issaquah residents has been nothing short of supportive, say church leaders.

"It's just feels like the whole community is saying, 'We want this to work,' " said Elizabeth Maupin, outreach minister.

That's taken some at Tent City 4 by surprise.

"We're not used to it, frankly," said Bruce Thomas, camp adviser. "Everything has been extremely smooth."

The encampment has been at the center of court challenges since it set up in the spring of 2004. Last month, a state Court of Appeals panel ruled that Tent City 4 should never have set up on Northshore United Church of Christ's property in Woodinville last year without first obtaining a city permit. The city of Woodinville has another lawsuit pending seeking monetary damages it says it incurred during Tent City 4's stay.

The encampment, which will have 84 people in Issaquah, was previously at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Bellevue. Tent City 4 typically stays about 90 days in each city. On average, people stay about six weeks, then move on, Thomas said.

Those seeking shelter at the camp must have a valid picture ID and no outstanding warrants, he said. Registered sex offenders are not allowed in, Thomas added.

Tent City 4 has a city permit to stay until Nov. 10 in Issaquah. After that, it's anybody's guess where it will go next, Thomas said. Religious leaders on Mercer Island have reached out to Tent City, but nothing has been finalized, he said.

Whatever happens, it won't stay on longer than Nov. 10 in Issaquah.

"The camp would rather disband than dishonor our word," Thomas said.

Sonia Krishnan: 206-515-5546 or skrishnan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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