MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Everett City Council passes ‘no-sit, no-lie’ homeless camping ban

Mar 15, 2021, 11:41 AM | Updated: Mar 18, 2021, 7:17 am

Everett homeless camping, no sit no lie, Snohomish County...

Homeless campers in Everett. (KIRO 7 TV)

(KIRO 7 TV)

Everett City Council voted 5-1 Wednesday to approve a “no-sit, no lie” homeless camping ordinance, spanning a 10-block radius along Smith Avenue near the I-5 overpass.

Rise in homeless camps ‘a matter of fixing the shelter system’

The measure effectively prohibits sitting or lying down of any kind on the area’s streets and sidewalks, in a part of the city where tents and tarps have frequently amassed in recent months.

The measure was paired with a larger proposal to use a $1 million state-funded grant to set up a pallet shelter space capable of housing 20-30 people. The motivation behind the addition of the “no-sit, no-lie” measure was to sate concerns from neighborhood businesses over an increased presence of unhoused individuals in the vacant lot behind a Smith Avenue Gospel Mission location where the shelter space would be set up.

“As an employer, I have had a lot of experience cleaning up around our building — they dump garbage all over the place,” a local business owner testified during Wednesday’s public comment period.

Critics of the ordinance, though, argue that kicking campers out of the Smith Avenue area would only see them move to Everett’s downtown corridor.

“(They would be) in front of hundreds of businesses and houses, residential houses, instead of an industrial area, which is just a few businesses,” Angel Resource Connection’s Penelope Protheroe told KIRO 7 TV.

Others who testified Wednesday further argued that moving campers out of the area “is playing whack-a-mole with people’s well-being.”

The “no-sit, no-lie” restrictions won’t go into effect until after the pallet shelter space is fully opened, likely by June, according to the city’s latest timeline.

Opinion: Seattle homeless camp sweeps are built to fail

This comes amid a larger debate that’s taken place across the Puget Sound region. A December sweep of a camp in Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park saw 24 people arrested for a range of charges, from misdemeanor trespass to property destruction. Over a month later in Bellingham, four people were arrested during a homeless camp sweep outside of Bellingham City Hall.

Then, in February, Mercer Island passed an ordinance banning camping on any public property. Opponents at the time argued that the measure essentially criminalized homelessness. Supporters countered that by pointing to how law enforcement could be used to help connect homeless individuals with resources and help.

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Everett City Council passes ‘no-sit, no-lie’ homeless camping ban