Port Townsend City Council approves extension for tent encampments

Pat’s Place’s wooden tent shelters within city

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council has unanimously approved an amendment to the city code that extends time limitations for temporary tent encampments.

For existing permitted temporary tent encampments, the amendment to Ordinance 3291, will allow the Development Services Director to grant two extensions not to exceed 180 days each upon the applicant showing compliance with all conditions of permit approval.

The previous code provision allowed for one tent encampment with a duration of 180 days and one 60-day extension.

City staff and the planning commission had recommended that the council consider an interim ordinance that would allow the longer time period while the city considers permanent changes to the tent encampment code.

Currently, the city has one permitted tent encampment, Pat’s Place, which consists of 11 tiny wooden shelters and a community kitchen on 10th Street near Hancock Street.

During the public comment period, Scott Rosekrans, pastor at Community United Methodist Church in Port Hadlock, spoke in favor of the amendment, citing his church’s positive experience hosting the Peter’s Place, a community of tiny wooden shelters.

Peter’s Place took shape at the beginning of 2021, built on land provided by Community United Methodist Church and by the Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP).

The nonprofit Bayside Housing Services interviews potential residents.

“I can’t think of a more worthwhile endeavor for the city of Port Townsend to be involved in and what truly is rewarding to see these people rebuild their lives and re-establish themselves,” Rosekrans said.

“As a resident and a taxpayer, I can’t think of a better expenditure of funds.”

The city of Port Townsend received seven letters regarding the interim amendment, none of which opposed it.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached by email at [email protected] or (360) 417-3509.

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