Progress Report on Tent City 3 Hosting Discernment Effort

"Tent City 3?" on a bright gold background

Parking, UUC’s relationship with our neighbors, and opportunities to interact with Tent City 3 residents are the three concerns that have arisen most often in conversations about UUC hosting SHARE’s Tent City 3 in the spring of 2023. Below we discuss ways we have identified ways to address these concerns. But first:

Opportunities to Learn More

So far, the discernment effort has included two in-person and 1 Zoom Information & Dialogue Sessions, weekly Sunday Learning Stations, and informal coffee hour conversations to gather input from members of the congregation.

There are six more information sessions scheduled in October and November.

For background on the discernment effort, check out the new TC3 webpage that pulls together information shared in recent weeks.



Tent City 3 would require around 9–10,000 square feet. We’re still sorting out the exact area that would be needed, but it will likely need about ½ of our parking lot. We anticipate that as many as half our spaces would still be available, including all of the current accessible parking spaces. So far, our efforts to address concerns about the impact of hosting Tent City 3 on parking and church attendance have included:

  1. A short parking needs survey that is included in this Friday’s Gateway. Responses are requested by October 16th.
  2. Outreach to local businesses within two blocks of UUC who have unused parking space on Sundays that could be available to our congregants. We have already identified a number of additional spaces.
  3. Brainstorming a plan to recruit Parking Hosts to staff the parking lot before each service. Hosts would facilitate use of the church parking lot by people with mobility limitations and families with small children, and help direct others to alternate parking areas.
  4. We are optimistic that sufficient parking options are available within easy walking distance of the church. And we are still brainstorming additional ideas. Let us know whether any of these would make sense for you:
    • Organize a system for parents to drop off their young children for church school into to the hands of familiar, trusted volunteers, so the parents can forego use of the church parking lot.
    • Coordinate with the Climate Action Team to promote and facilitate use of alternatives to driving such as organizing carpools, biking, walking or public transportation. A buddy system, perhaps?
    • Publicize the bus options that serve UUC. Two obvious ones:
      • Route 62 runs every 15 minutes on Sunday from Downtown via South Lake Union, Wallingford, Greenlake, and east/west through Ravenna to Wedgewood along NE 65th to 35th NE. It’s a 45-minute ride from Downtown, 11 minutes from 8th Ave NE near the the Greenlake Park & Ride.
      • Similarly, Route 65 runs every 15 minutes south/north from Jackson Park. It’s a 20-minute ride from Jackson Park, 11 minutes from the Meadowbrook Community Center. Both buses make pickups every 2–4 blocks.

We welcome additional ideas you may have. Please share them with Dave Mentz.

Neighbor relations

Whenever a church hosts Tent City 3, efforts are made to inform neighbors and answer any questions they may have. As many of you know, relationships with our neighbors along the fence to the east of the church became strained during our building construction project, so in our case, outreach to neighbors is a particularly important concern.

This week, our neighbors will receive a letter informing them about the possibility of UUC hosting Tent City 3. We’ll invite them to attend a neighborhood information meeting, or to contact the Tent City team directly, to find out more, ask questions and share concerns

Opportunities for Interaction with Tent City 3 Residents

Based on descriptions of University Church United Church of Christ ’s (UCUCC’s) experience hosting Tent City 3 eight times, some members have expressed concern that hosting would not provide enough opportunities to interact with Tent City 3 residents to accomplish the goal of “getting proximate” that we have articulated in previous Gateway articles.

In this regard, UCUUC’s experience is not the typical one. UCUCC has been deeply engaged with homelessness for over two decades, with many congregants involved over the years. For instance, they were among the founding congregations to collaborate with Teen Feed, and the church now offers both their kitchen and social hall to our UUC meal team and other meal teams, four nights per week year-round. UCUCC opened an adjacent church building to YouthCare as a day center for homeless teens, and the church also hosted Mary’s Place for four weeks each year before the non-profit was able to obtain permanent space to expand its shelter for women and children. Probably because of those commitments, UCUCC does not articulate interaction as a significant goal of their hosting effort. 

Both St. Mark’s and Phinney Ridge Lutheran, however, have provided meals to residents, both prepared and shared by congregants and through a neighborhood restaurant, and we can choose to do the same.

Questions? Please contact Dave Mentz or Sallie Dacey.

1 Response

  1. Nick Barnard says:

    I’d also like to highlight Green Lake Park and Ride –

    This is right off I5, is served by route 62 which directly serves UUC, and has plenty of space on Sunday mornings.