Tent City 3: Results of Parking Survey and Neighborhood Outreach

"Tent City 3?" on a bright gold background

The two major concerns that came up when discussing with congregants the possibility of our hosting Tent City 3 at UUC were 1) access to parking on Sundays and 2) the potential impact on neighbors. We are pleased to share the results of our parking and transportation survey and of our neighborhood outreach.


Of the people who responded to our survey and say they regularly park in the UUC lot, two-thirds would “definitely” consider an alternative to parking there during the three months that Tent City 3 would be using a part of our lot (see chart below). Another 15% say “maybe.” Because of mobility or other issues, 14% need or prefer to use the lot and four individuals indicated that they would probably attend via Zoom during that time period. The remaining survey results are summarized here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A-VK62ZAVTLInj0ghvJFmvECiFdnBayFZahDBajTC80/edit

A bar chart showing a tall bar for "Definitely", and four other bars of decreasing height labeled "Maybe," "No (mobility)," "No (other)" and "I'll Zoom instead."

Key takeaways:

Given these results and the likely location of Tent City 3 at the south end of the parking lot, there would be adequate space for all congregants currently parking in the lot who need or desire to continue to park in the lot. The majority of congregants who responded said they are willing to accept the temporary inconvenience of parking outside the lot in available street parking or in specific locations that will be made available to UUC congregants (e.g. by neighborhood businesses). Based on the survey feedback, the Tent City 3 Team believes we can also work directly with families in the Family Ministries program to minimize the impact on families with children.

Neighborhood outreach

We had personal contact with Congregation Beth Shalom, the Northeast Branch of the Seattle Public library and some of the local businesses. Broad support was expressed about our hosting Tent City 3. 

We reached out to neighbors with a letter and held a community meeting for the neighborhood on Tuesday, October 25.  Many of those who wrote or attended the meeting expressed compassion and concern for the homeless, but some people also had some questions and concerns that they wanted to have addressed. Rev. Beth masterfully facilitated the meeting. The focus of the meeting was to provide factual information about Tent City 3 from the points of view of four TC3 residents and representatives of four congregations that have previously hosted. Beth posed questions that had been submitted both via email and at the meeting. There were approximately 60 people in attendance including the presenters and Tent City 3 team members. 

Here is a summary of their primary concerns: 

  • Safety of neighborhood and impact on immediate neighbors 
  • Alcohol and drugs at and around Tent City 3
  • Unpredictability of the homeless population 
  • Concerns about garbage, cleanliness
  • Impacts on the neighborhood of having Tent City 3 at UUC

Key takeaways:

We recognize the many different ways of seeing the same issue and appreciate all points of view. Many of the issues neighbors raised are addressed by the Share/Wheel Tent City model and governance of the camp. In addition, responses from neighbors and businesses that have hosted Tent City 3 in the past have been largely positive and we believe that would be the case for UUC as well. As one example, multiple Tent City 3 hosts attending the UUC meeting indicated that neighborhood crime decreased during Tent City 3’s residence because of the security team that monitors the surrounding area. The meeting was well attended and generally well received.


To assess parking issues, a parking survey was available both online (from our Gateway enewsletter, our website and our Facebook page) and in paper form on Sundays for two weeks. We received 131 responses (many represented two or more in a family). We analyzed these both by total responses and then specifically looked at the responses from those who stated that they usually use the parking lot (see chart above). 

To gauge neighborhood response, we mailed 440 letters to neighbors (of which 110 were returned as undeliverable, largely due to vacancies in apartments nearby) within a two-block radius of UUC. It contained information about Tent City 3,  encouraged feedback using a special email address and invited them to a community meeting on October 25. We received ten emails, responded to each and invited them into conversation. Two neighbors engaged in subsequent emails and we met with one in person and one via Zoom. 

We welcome your feedback and questions

Please reach out to us via email: Dave Mentz at Davementz@msn.com or Sallie Dacey at Dacey.sallie@gmail.com; or in person at the Learning Station in Nathan Johnson Hall after each service on October 30. On November 6 there will be a final Information and Dialogue meeting in Knatvold after each service. On November 7 there will be a final Zoom Session. We encourage your participation in any of these and look forward to hearing from you.  

Next steps

On November 13 there will be an online congregational meeting during which members will vote on whether or not they would like us to host Tent City 3 March through May 2023. This will be an advisory vote. Reverend Jon Luopa must make the final decision as the steward of church resources, but the opinions and perspectives of the congregation will be a vital and primary factor as he does so. We have committed to letting Share/Wheel know our decision by the end November so that they can continue their planning for the coming year.

14 Responses

  1. Judy Hait says:

    I am so impressed with the way this process has been offered to businesses, neighbors, congregants, and staff.
    I want to thank those on the Team that is spearheading this effort for all the thought and energy you all have put into this.

    I hope we are able to host this Mobile Community and to learn more about how we think of people who are
    Not us, how we can jump to conclusions and how our fear shows up- all things I have Noticed within myself. I appreciate being able to have the time for a discernment process of my own and to come to the conclusion that this would be a good idea.

    Thanks for all who have put effort into this! I can only imagine how much it has

    See you all around and in church,
    Judy Hait

  2. Mason Taylor says:

    Anyone one of us can become homeless under this patriarchal, capitalist economy.
    We are them. They are us. Beware of stigmatizing homeless as alldrug addicted, all as mentally ill, all as thieves. The “other” is you and me.

  3. yixaho2049@kixotic.com says:

    We are concerned neighbors. This was not widely-publicized locally and we are only now learning about it. This brings immediate safety risks to our family oriented neighborhood, and kids who love playing outside. We object to this tent city.

  4. Magda Balazinska says:

    This is a terrible idea. It will bring crime to the neighborhood. Families will flee to the East Side. There are at least two elementary schools near the church. Don’t do this. Don’t destroy the neighborhood. This is not the solution to homelessness. People deserve to be properly sheltered with a proper roof and proper facilities. Sleeping outside is not safe for the unhoused either. Show compassion by providing them with a proper shelter!

  5. helloflash7@gmail.com says:

    We live across the street from where this proposed Tent city 3 would be. This is a big concern for our family. We have not been contacted or had any knowledge of this plan. This is concerning because we are the neighboring community and as far as I can tell the many families in this neighborhood haven’t been notified or asked how we feel about this plan. You talk about a community outreach… when, where, how?
    is this a decision of a very few?

  6. nobody@yahoo.com says:

    I will also repeat this, this was never publicized past even two block of tte church. Why does people can’t accept the other of shelter from the city? I think we all know the answer.

  7. yvkngdwlvzwmeozaof@tmmcv.net says:

    The neighborhood wasn’t consulted sadly. Why those people will not accept shelter offer from the city of Seattle?

  8. yvkngdwlvzwmeozaof@tmmcv.net says:

    My comments are not accepted? Because you don’t want input?

  9. heacleb says:

    We live in the surrounding area outside the small 2 block radius of inquiry by UUC. A more wide reaching inquiry of the neighborhood would have been appreciated and would have given a more comprehensive read on the impact on the community. In particular did you do outreach to the local schools (Assumption St Bridget which is just 3 blocks away) or the patrons of the NE Public Library?

    My concern is the proximity of the Tent City to the NE Public Library. I imagine that the public library will become a refuge for the Tent City residents as it provides free internet access, restrooms, access to books and computers as well as warm place to be on a cold or wet day. However, this library is also a refuge for many children, having the highest circulation of children’s books in the city. I am concerned that the Tent City residents will create an environment where children and families do not feel safe in a space that is supposed to be a safe space for all people. Has the Seattle Public Libraries been informed of the potential impact this might have on their facility and staffing needs?

    I also know that many school aged kids walk home from Eckstein and other local schools via 35th in direct contact with UUC.

    I would strongly encourage UUC to broaden their community engagement before coming to a final decision – engaging the View Ridge and Bryant communities.

  10. Olivia Caitlin says:

    We bought a house in this neighborhood (and paid far too much!) to get away from the tents and feel safer on our streets. We used to live near the u-district. During our short time there I had my tires slashed twice, my husbands car was broken into, there were constantly needles on the sidewalk, and my husband came home once to a knife brandishing homeless man in our stairway. The worst of it all were the fires, twice we woke up to giant meth fires in the abandoned house next door.
    We do not want to bring all of this into our quiet, safe neighborhood. We want our kids to play outside without worrying about them. This was not widely publicized and we are just hearing about it. Please do not ruin our neighborhood!

  11. yvkngdwlvzwmeozaof@tmmcv.net says:

    My comments are not accepted? Because you don’t want input?

  12. Kyle Bieber says:

    Well I thought my comments went through last night but apparently they didn’t. I am sending again. I object to this unilateral decision…

    From what I understand, the people will be allowed to live in tents in your parking lot without any access to the building you use for your church. This seems very hypocritical that you will allow complete strangers into a neighborhood that are not contributing members of society, and not give them any assistance/house/facilities/engagement other than a concrete open space to pitch a tent and some porta potties. This is not quality of life. This is not helping someone get on their feet. It isnt even providing a “safe” environment for them to be in. Then you expect the surrounding neighborhoods and business to deal with the fallout that will take place because of your selfish actions. Whatever good you and the congregation think you are doing by providing “asphalt” is not helpful. I believe you are only contributing to the problem, enabling people to live in substandard conditions instead of working with and empowering people for a positive change. One only needs to drive to the surrounding areas that currently host tent cities to see the effects. We have a beautiful, RESIDENTIAL area where our families live and work. It is not appropriate to bring in a load of people to live for free on your property with no oversight, rules, or support.

    To take a poll of your members if parking will be a problem does not constitute complete data. Did you actually spend time in the neighborhoods surrounding to realize that street parking in that area, especially on a weekend where vehicles are already home and have received their spots. Not to mention the fact that there will be RVs that move to the area. Just wait and watch, there will be RVs that move into the area and start taking up spaces around the site also.

    Second to send out 440 mailers, to a 2 block radius, and get 25% of them back as return to sender, does not constitute any form of statistical data related to the general population in the area. This decision does not affect a 2 block radius for 3 months. This affects all the neighborhoods from UW to Wedgwood on the 35th Ave corridor. It is also not a 3 month decision. Where do you think all these people will go after 3 months.

  13. Test@gmail.com says:


  14. Kathleen M. says:

    I recently learned that UUC has offered to host Tent City 3 on their site in 2023. I am also a resident of NE Seattle and live a few blocks from UUC. I have first hand experience with Tent Cities throughout King County and their mission is to build community while addressing the ongoing affordable housing crisis in Seattle. They have a mandate of being a sober community, have security, background checks for their community members, many have full time jobs and work to outreach the communities in which they reside. This is an ideal location for the community as clear access to public transit, health care and community resources. This is a great opportunity to support the housing crisis in our NE community. Thank you for taking on this initiative.