'Tent City' showdown on local highway

1:50 AM, Sep 21, 2011   |    comments
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WOOSTER -- The Ohio Department of Transportation wants to close a so-called "tent city" along Little Apple Creek in Wooster.

Thirteen homesteaders set up tents right off the highway at Madison Avenue. Some have been here for more then one year.

The tent city is located in what is called a "clear zone" in the highway system. ODOT says the land is uninhabitable and it is unsafe for the homeless or anyone else to be there.

ODOT filed a trespass complaint in Wooster Municipal Court. Advocate Roger Atkins, who started the camp, filed a counterclaim. Atkins argues the group has a right to be there because of his native American status.

"This is something the federal government has promised us. We as native Americans are entitled to homestead on government protected properties," Atkins said.

The eviction process began back in June. The court put up a public notice just last month.

Atkins says he is prepared to take the case to federal court if need be.


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