When we went to Tent City last year, there were several dozen people existing much like they are today, but with a few differences.
The camp’s founder Reverend Steve Brigham had an old school bus he’d been living in for years and was working with a lawyer to battle the town into allowing the camp to permanently remain. People had very little, but there was a solid sense of community.
That has changed.
Though the camp won its legal battle in January and was allowed to stay on public land, it’s now under police scrutiny. There’s an increase in residents that refuse to follow camp rules and Brigham has lost the ability to evict them.
In fact, when he recently tried to have one person not following community guidelines removed, the individual filed a complaint against Brigham and he was arrested. Twice. Once the following day at 11:30 p.m. as he slept.
His bus was impounded, and when he called the police for help against an individual while we were there, the authorities were openly hostile towards him (and us). They were much nicer to the person he was calling about.
Brigham lives in a tent, and the camp he built around him is dividing.
Donations continue to pour in, but residents say they feel a shift. They don’t know what’s happening, but are prepared for the worst as aggressive residents try and take control.