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Originally published Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Judge dismisses citations over Tent City

A judge on Friday dismissed a series of misdemeanor citations issued by the city of Woodinville against one of the sponsors of the Tent...

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

A judge on Friday dismissed a series of misdemeanor citations issued by the city of Woodinville against one of the sponsors of the Tent City 4 homeless encampment.

The citations had been filed against Scott Morrow, an employee of SHARE/WHEEL, a homeless-advocacy organization that sponsors Tent City.

The citations were issued over the operation of Tent City last summer at the Northshore United Church of Christ, which is inside Woodinville city limits. The camp has since moved out of the city to a new site at the Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church on Woodinville-Duvall Road and expects to relocate again by Nov. 11.

Twenty-eight citations were issued in Morrow's name since July, with fines to be levied on a sliding scale. The citations accused the organization of violating city zoning codes and permit requirements.

Attorneys for the city argued that although a state Court of Appeals commissioner ruled last summer that Tent City didn't have to immediately leave the Northshore United Church site, that didn't mean it didn't have to abide by other city rules.

A Tent City attorney argued that Woodinville lacked jurisdiction to issue the citations for civil infractions, pending the outcome of still other litigation.

Judge David A. Steiner of Northeast District Court in Redmond ruled the city was "without authority" to issue the citations.

Steiner concluded that while the June 16 ruling by Appeals Court Commissioner Mary Neel didn't specifically address such matters as zoning, the implication was that such issues would be put aside.

"The intent of the commissioner of the Court of Appeals was to stay everything," said Steiner, adding that all infractions against Morrow would be dismissed.

"This whole issue is going to be litigated," Steiner added, pointing out that a lawsuit over Tent City remains in the Court of Appeals. No trial date has been set.

Morrow said he was "a bit" relieved over the ruling and added he hopes continuing disputes over Tent City operations eventually will fade away.

An attorney for the city said Woodinville officials will have to discuss whether to appeal the ruling.

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or pwhitely@seattletimes.com

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