Judge halts Olympia homeless camp, but some campers can stay

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Thurston County judge has halted plans for Olympia’s first city-sanctioned homeless camp — but the dozens of campers already there can stay, at least for now.

Judge James Dixon granted a temporary restraining order sought by downtown business owners who argued the camp violates the city’s own law on emergency housing. The judge will hear more evidence before issuing a permanent ruling.

The camp opened at a city-owned parking lot Monday morning, with people moving in before the judge made his ruling.

The city declared a public health emergency last summer, as an estimated 300 tents were scattered in downtown Olympia. Officials hoped the new camp would help transition people to a safer environment. The new encampment has a fenced perimeter and room for about 100 tents.

The city said the camp is not a perfect solution, but it’s a start.