Wednesday evening, texts were blowing up on my phone. Neighbors near Oasis Home Church in Burien claimed tents were popping up behind the church building. They said this was the “ultimate betrayal” since Pastor Mark Miller allegedly told them this controversial “sanctioned encampment” would not open until “later this month.” Some people who live across the street say they had meetings scheduled this week with the pastor to set reasonable parameters before doors opened.
Of course I went to check out the situation. Four tents are currently set up in the fenced area. Unclear how many people are staying on site since these tents can hold multiple folks. Councilmember Cydney Moore was sitting at one of the volunteer tables and tried to have me thrown off the property.
As usual, Pastor Mark Miller was extremely gracious and not as aggressive. He talked to me off the property but did not want to go on camera.
Miller said the following:
-The sanctioned camp opened on Tuesday Nov 7.
-Burien city officials know.
-Right now the church is NOT required to have a permit to operate.
-All the campers have had background checks and are not sex offenders.
-He plans on continuing conversations with neighbors.
-This is just a “temporary sanctioned encampment” and will be around for 90 days.
Preparing for the Worst
Listen to what some neighbors near Oasis Home Church are doing to prep for the homeless moving into the “sanctioned encampment” across the street.
I spoke to Pastor Mark Miller this past Sunday. The “sanctioned encampment” was supposed to open on Nov. 6. But he told neighbors at the public meeting the opening was delayed. Miller said background checks on the campers needed to be completed. Neighbors now say they had no idea it would happen this week.