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Island residents appeal Tent City decision

A group of Island residents, named Mercer Island Citizens for Fair Process, have begun to appeal a King County Superior Court summary judgement lawsuit against the city for allowing Tent City 4, a roving homeless camp, to stay at the United Methodist Church last year.

The plaintiffs are claiming that their constitutional due process rights were violated by the city when it “illegally” granted SHARE/WHEEL, the organization behind Tent City 4, and the United Methodist Church a temporary use agreement for the encampment without notifying the public in advance.

The case was dismissed by King County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Fox on April 24, after he determined that there was ample notice (the City Council meeting in which the temporary use agreement was to be discussed was published on the city’s Web site and in the Reporter) and that no federal rights were violated. Citizens for Fair Process are now appealing this judgment.

“Mercer Island city officials egregiously ignored our laws; prioritizing a special interest group above the citizens of Mercer Island,” the plaintiff wrote in an e-mail announcing the appeal. “Our Attorney, Jane Koler, had our case reviewed by several Attorneys and they all agreed that we have an excellent case.”

The filing and response process could take approximately three months, said City Attorney Katie Knight. Most likely, the trial will not be heard until fall 2009.

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