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Federal judge won't block Seattle from clearing camp at Cal Anderson Park

A federal judge Thursday declined to block Seattle officials from removing a homeless encampment from a city park.

Officials intended to clear Cal Anderson Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood Wednesday morning. They postponed the sweep after makeshift barriers went up, dozens of black-clad protesters arrived and park resident Ada Yeager filed a federal lawsuit.

Yeager claimed a sweep would violate her civil rights, include rights to due process before being deprived of property, and that the park was targeted for a sweep for political reasons, in violation of the First Amendment, because residents have criticized officials and police.

But following telephone arguments Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones ruled Thursday afternoon that Yeager had offered little to no evidence that her rights to free expression or due process were violated.

Seattle officials have argued that the encampment, which until recently had about 50 residents, poses a public safety risk. They cited threats to city officials, fires and other dangerous conditions persist, and they noted that shelter beds were available for those staying there.