Everett expands ‘no sit, no lie’ law, bans public drug use

May 4, 2023, 3:37 PM

no sit no lie...

Everett street camps (MyNorthwest file photo)

(MyNorthwest file photo)

The Everett City Council is expanding its “no sit, no lie” law, which is set to take effect May 18, with a 4-3 vote.

The new ordinance will expand the ban on camping and loitering outside certain shelters, including facilities like the Everett Gospel Mission, which acts as a shelter. The offense is punishable with a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days.

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“This new ordinance prohibits people from sitting or lying down near facilities that provide substance abuse, behavioral health, and temporary housing services,” KIRO 7 TV’s Briseida Holguin reported. “Now the mayor can designate a two-block radius around these facilities. The mayor has said the city is facing some incredible challenges and is proud there are new tools to address the struggles.”

The Everett City Council’s decision came with some pubic pushback, as residents took to a city meeting’s public forum to voice their displeasure on the law. Some council members who voted against the ordinance agreed, arguing people should first have a place to go before they’re told they can’t be in certain public areas of the city.

“I do a lot of street outreach with my student club members. I have a recovery center,” one resident said at the public forum. “That means I have to go out and look for them to save their lives.”

“What I’m starting to see is that there are a lot of homeless people that are gathering in our neighborhood, and they are bringing drugs, trash. They’re littering, they’re not respecting the neighbors who live in the neighborhood,” another resident countered.

According to the expanded legislation, Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin has the authority to designate other areas as “no sit, no lie” zones.

In addition to the city’s expanded policy, Everett placed a ban on public drug use after Washington lawmakers failed to pass a statewide drug possession law. The current stopgap law is set to expire July 1, leaving various cities to enact their own ordinances. Everett’s city council passed a ban on the use of controlled substances in public spaces city-wide Wednesday night — making it a misdemeanor — amending Chapter 10.35 of the Everett Municipal Code in the process.

The law narrowly passed on a similar 4-3 vote.

The Kent City Council similarly passed its own laws on public drug use and possession, making it a gross misdemeanor.

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A statewide law could nullify these local ordinances, but mayors of both cities are hoping their laws can be used as a blueprint

Governor Inslee has scheduled a special session for state lawmakers to pass a drug possession law, which is set to begin May 16.

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

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Everett expands ‘no sit, no lie’ law, bans public drug use