A lawsuit filed last month by a synagogue against the city of Bellevue over the Tent City 4 homeless camp has moved from King County Superior...
A lawsuit filed last month by a synagogue against the city of Bellevue over the Tent City 4 homeless camp has moved from King County Superior Court to federal court at the request of city officials.
The lawsuit challenges the city’s restrictions on the camp, which moved to Temple B’nai Torah on Nov. 16. The temple, along with Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE), which runs Tent City 4, say the city’s limits on length of stay and number of people violate the synagogue’s religious freedoms.
The city recently asked that the lawsuit be moved to U.S. District Court because the appeal involved the U.S. Constitution and a 2000 federal law that protects religious groups in land-use decisions, said Bellevue City Attorney Lori Riordan. A Superior Court judge granted the request.
The city wants the lawsuit decided as soon as possible, especially since the camp’s stay at the temple is scheduled to end in mid-January, Riordan said.
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Temple officials were surprised the city moved the lawsuit, since city law outlines that appeals to its homeless-camp law should be heard in Superior Court, said Chuck Wolfe, the temple’s attorney.
The temple has not decided whether to object to the change and try to get the lawsuit moved back to Superior Court, he said.
The city has requested a status conference Tuesday before U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, but the temple has not yet responded, Wolfe said.