Measure to ban county funds for injection sites will appear on February ballot

An initiative known as I-27, which would ban King County resources from funding drug consumption sites in the county, will not appear on the November ballot.

The initiative received enough signatures to qualify for a place on the ballot but the County Council voted at its Aug. 21 meeting to place I-27 on the February 2018 special election ballot instead.

Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents Redmond in District 3, proposed that the initiative be placed on the November election ballot, but this was voted down by the council.

As a follow-up measure, she also proposed a temporary ban on county resources going to fund the sites until the election, but this was also rejected by a majority of the council.

During the votes, a group of four citizens stood and started talking over the council.

“Why are our voices not being heard?” one woman asked.

The dramatic scene eased after a couple minutes as council Chair Joe McDermott called the protesters out of order.

Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles said placing the initiative on the November ballot before a scheduled Sept. 6 public meeting on it would circumvent the will of the voters and not allow adequate time for their input to be heard.

The deadline for placing initiatives on the November ballot came at the end of last week.

I-27 proposes a ban on safe drug consumption sites, including injections. A task force created by the council recommended two such sites along with various other harm reduction strategies to try and curb the wave of deadly overdoses that has hit the country in recent years.

The Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle has already taken steps to house one of these sites, and another location has not been selected.

The County Council has previously voted to only allow the other site to be established in a city that welcomes them.

In response, Bellevue, Federal Way and Auburn have voted to ban the sites in their jurisdictions.

Bothell City Councilmember Joshua Freed is a member of the I-27 group that got the initiative started this spring. He was at the meeting last Monday and expressed his disappointment.

“I think it’s a sad day in King County,” he said of the county’s decision not to place the measure on the November ballot.

Proponents of the injection sites say that since they will be monitored, they could help reduce overdoses.

At a community forum earlier this month, a member of the King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force which made the recommendations for the consumption sites, Lisa Daugaard, defended the sites as part of an overall plan.

“A safe consumption program recognizes that people use drugs, it does not approve of them, it does not positively value that,” she said in earlier coverage. “It is just a reality-based recognition.”

The sites are also supported by the American Medical Association and other groups across the nation which will be watching how they perform closely.

On top of providing supervised consumption to prevent overdoses, proponents also argue the sites will allow users easier access to medical and addiction professionals.

[flipp]

More in News

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

Development has encroached on the East Lake Sammamish Trail (at right). Joe Livarchik/file photo
King County files lawsuit to finish East Lake Sammamish Trail

Homeowners have until September to remove buildings and other property from the right of way.

Bellevue residents Marko and Karla Ilicic play a hockey game in the Topgolf Swing Suite inside Forum Social House. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Forum Social House opens in Bellevue

Eastside gets new nightclub, mini golf, swing suites.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Sound Transit station. File photo
Construction on Eastside-related light rail project begins

Travelers should expect delays until March.

The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce presents the 2019 Business of the Year Award to Covenant Living at the Shores (CLS). From left: CLS’s Bob Bowen, Chamber of Commerce Board President Suzanne Skone, CLS Associate Executive Director Marykay Duran, CLS’s Leslie McGee, CLS Sales Director Nancy Woo, and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laurie Givan. Courtesy photo.
Chamber names Mercer Island Business of the Year

2019 award goes to Covenant Living at the Shores.

Photo courtesy of effieparks.com
                                Effie Parks started a podcast about raising children with disabilities.
Mercer Island mom creates podcast about raising children with disabilities

Effie Parks launched the “Once Upon a Gene” podcast last October.

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

Most Read