Tent City may return to Redmond
February 3, 2009 · Updated 11:22 AM
St. Jude Catholic Church, 10526 166th Ave. NE in Redmond, will hold a neighborhood forum at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12 to discuss the possible return of Tent City 4 this spring.
Pastor Dave Rogerson said the church has been asked to host the homeless encampment during May, June and July. St. Jude's Pastoral Council has endorsed doing so, but "the forum is to give the community a voice, before we proceed further," he explained.
Tent City 4's previous stay at St. Jude's was in the winter/spring of 2007. Some neighbors objected to the location, fearing that the encampment would attract crime and/or pose health risks to the community.
In a follow-up interview, Redmond Police Commander Shari Shovlin told the Redmond Reporter that calls related to Tent City at St. Jude's were roughly equal to the number of calls that police receive from Redmond apartments complexes with the same number of residents during the same timeframe.
One residential break-in had been committed by a man who was ejected from Tent City and the suspect was arrested and charged.
Eleven calls to police were for warrant arrests; people who attempted to gain access to Tent City were immediately identified through the criminal background check process and police were called and came to pick them up. One man who was told to leave Tent City asked police officers for a ride and during a pat-down, he was found to have drug paraphernalia. He was arrested.
A couple of calls were requests to deliver emergency messages to Tent City residents who did not have phones.
There also were a handful of calls from Education Hill residents who said they saw something "suspicious." In these instances, people from the encampment were walking through the neighborhood but not committing crimes.
Rogerson said that in most areas that have already experienced having Tent City in their midst, "people see that some information is exaggerated or inaccurate ... and once they know what it's about, usually, people see it as a workable situation. We hope people have learned from that, can move ahead and know we're a secure community and should do fine."
Rogerson also noted that he will work in cooperation with the City of Redmond on matters related to hosting Tent City.
For more information about St. Jude's Church, call (425) 883-7685 or visit www.stjude-redmond.org.