Another plaintiff, Deborah Drake, said she suffers from ovarian cancer, congestive heart failure and emphysema and didn’t want to be separated from her son, who also lives behind the Dollar Tree and cares for her. Drake testified she wouldn’t feel safe being in a traditional shelter in an open environment around others who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She doesn’t feel that way about the encampment.“I just go in and close the door and it’s like I’m hiding,” Drake said. “I know it’s just a flimsy little tent, but that’s the best we got right now. I feel safer.”A room at the Palms Inn is expected to become available for Drake in the coming weeks, according to Abramson.The commission needs to clean up soil contaminated by an old dry cleaner on the site and begin other work to get ready for the new development, none of which can happen as long as the encampment remains, said Benjamin Wickham, the commission’s affordable housing manager. Wickham was concerned the tent village’s continued presence could delay the project at a time when the fire-ravage county desperately needs more housing units.Alegria De La Cruz, the chief deputy county counsel who represented the county commission in court, said she felt good about the hearing after its conclusion, but still needed to confer with county leaders to decide how to respond to Chhabria’s proposal.

“I think the judge understood our efforts and acknowledged them,” De La Cruz said.

Drake, however, remained skeptical about pushing the eviction off three weeks.

“It’s better than having it done tomorrow,” she said after the hearing. “I just don’t think it’s the answer — not the one we’re looking for.”

It’s not clear how quickly the county would initiate the closure of the encampment if and when the judge allows that to happen. But Santa Rosa police have offered assurances that their process would unfold over a period of days as opposed to an “immediate clearance,” Abramson said.

You can reach Staff Writer J.D. Morris at 707-521-5337 or On Twitter @thejdmorris.