City council again adjourns before voting on public camping ordinance

The Edmonds City Council Thursday night failed again to vote on an ordinance that would ban camping on city property. The 90-minute virtual special meeting devolved into a literal last-minute rush to try to extend the session, but members voted four times in less than two minutes not to extend the meeting – not even for another five minutes.

Edmonds City Councilmembers meet during a special session Thursday night.

When Councilmember Kristiana Johnson tried one last time to call the question to force a vote on the entire ordinance, another member shouted “it’s 9:30” – and Council President Vivian Olson said, “We are adjourned, good night everybody.”

The no camping on public property ordinance is the city’s effort to keep people from living in parks and other public property.

It is unlawful for anyone to occupy, or store personal property, on public property overnight. Enforcement is suspended against those individuals experiencing homelessness when no available shelter exists. If available shelter exists it is required to be offered, along with other available human services, to the individual(s) experiencing homelessness. Only if the shelter is refused can the ordinance be enforced against those experiencing homelessness.“

–Summary of city council ordinance

 The ordinance would give police the power to arrest someone for illegally occupying public property only when two conditions are met: 1) When available overnight shelter exists and 2) when that available shelter has been offered and refused.

Violating the ordinance would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail; but a provision notes that municipal court can order anyone unable to pay to instead perform “community service or work crew in lieu of a monetary penalty.”

Edmonds police arrest man camping at the Edmonds Library in 2021. (Edmonds police photo)

 The measure stems from two incidents in the last year – one where, after two warnings, officers finally arrested a man for sleeping outside the Edmonds Library. He was cited for trespass, appeared in court, no fines were issued, and the city says that man is now in permanent housing.

The other happened in the Lake Ballinger neighborhood last summer, when a woman camped out for several months on a park bench on the Interurban trail.  

Thursday’s special session was a continuation of Tuesday’s council meeting, and it marks the third time in a month that the Council has debated the measure. During Thursday’s meeting, councilmembers added one new amendment — that any shelter offered must be located within a 35-mile radius of Edmonds City Hall – to keep people close to local social service resources.  That was approved unanimously.

But that’s about all the members would agree on. “What is the whole point of this?” Councilmember Laura Johnson asked. “This is clearly, clearly targeted at those who are unhoused.”

“We are,” Johnson added, “talking about those among us who have the least… if you don’t have housing, what do you have?”

Councilmember Neil Tibbott responded that “one of the assumptions made is that if we support this ordinance, we are unsympathetic to people who are in difficult situations and unhoused and that’s not accurate. I think most of us would say we want the best for people who are in difficult situations.”

One more item that garnered support was a council request that if the ordinance passes, the police department will provide six-month or yearly reports on how it is working and how the city is meeting the needs of those affected by it;  Councilmembers and Police Chief Michelle Bennett informally agreed to that.

But until the council decides to vote on the entire issue, there can be nothing to report on. Councilmember Laura Johnson asked Chief Bennett, “What is the urgency, is this an emergency and is it necessary to act on this tonight?” Bennett responded, “this is always emergent; this ordinance gives us more ability to contact folks and helps propel people into the services they desperately need.”

In its haste to adjourn, the council made no mention of when it would bring the measure up again.

— By Bob Throndsen

  1. Pathetic to see some of these clowns trying so hard to let homeless people camp in the streets with no consequences. Are they blind? Can’t they see what is happening in Seattle? Do they want the same for our beautiful Edmonds? Really sad and infuriating.

    1. Yes, definitely was a clown show. Other than the usual two ultra left-wing clowns, special red rubber nose clown mention for Will Chen for his failed time-wasting, poorly thought-out, amendment trying to micromanage the police department. Also dopey, Chen’s wanting to include people with homes in the ordinance, who will not leave the parks or sidewalks, as if that’s ever happening, is complete nonsense.

  2. My hope is that this proposal dies of its own accord. It is poorly articulated, logistically unworkable, and frankly, punishing. The Council is embarrassing themselves in pursuing its passage.

    Why not do what nearly every expert in the field of homelessness, mental health and addiction has recommended? Hire enough social service providers to provide coordinated outreach, and give them the resources they need to do their jobs, including the acquisition (or construction) of shelter space with services?

    The police should not have to be the de facto social service providers because the City fails to do the right thing.

    Lastly, can we stop using the term “camping” when speaking about people trying to survive on the streets? Camping suggests recreation, rejuvenation, and perhaps some time for quiet reflection. Let’s call homelessness what it really is: the brutal failure of a broken system that has failed to care for its own citizens.

    1. Thank you Mr. Lorah for your reasonable , sympathetic and succinct comments. I applaud you for speaking up and can only amplify your sentiments .
      I also hope that this ordinance decision will simply be tabled for now. Obviously, the Council is having a hard time on this delicate issue. There seems to be some doubt and hesitancy. I applaud the Council for taking their time and listening to all the viewpoints on this complex issue. There is no need to rush into a decision and the topic can always be taken up at a later date.
      Rather, for now, let’s concentrate on our emergency housing options . There seems to be a real shortage of short term housing openings at the few shelters in our region.
      The proposed ordinance seems to be putting the cart before the horse. Before we start threatening to arrest the unhoused because they won’t go into temporary shelters, let’s make sure that there is temporary housing available. You can’t just put folks in a motel room for a couple nights and expect that to solve the problem. The chronically unhoused need special care and each individual has a unique set of needs.
      Houselessness is a complex socioeconomic issue. We can’t just “sweep” those folks from park to park and expect that to solve the problem. It’s going to take time and money and patience. It’s especially going to take a lot more no cost/low cost/low barrier permanent housing options in our region
      Thank you everyone.

      1. Mr. Phipps, the Council did have an opportunity to add emergency housing when they approved HASCO’s expansion into more of Edmonds. A proposal on the table was for HASCO to set aside a few units within their complex(s) for emergency housing. To a person, the Council didn’t even consider it. So, where are we now? Every little bit would have helped.

        This Council is in incapable of thinking creatively. Instead, we get meetings like last night.

        I’m also getting tired of everyone’s “complex socioeconomic” jargon without proposing solutions. Solutions which protect both the public and those less fortunate. This ordinance does both.

  3. What a circus. I don’t even have the energy to comment on this any further, so won’t.

  4. As a former Seattle resident, this sort of inaction is what leads to local parks and neighborhoods where I could not safely bring my children. Violence and theft rampant in broad daylight (I had more packages stolen than received in the year before I moved to Edmonds). Trash, junk and human feces in the street. The City Council is not responsible for solving the homeless crisis, they are responsible for protecting the interest of the city and its residents, which should be safety and enjoyment of their homes, community and life. If they want to work to solve this crisis than that is a noble ambition and I would suggest they join one of the many local organizations who have been working on this issue. However, if they are trying to do this in their position of a City Council member than they are abandoning their responsibilities to the Edmonds community. The Seattle City Council did the same thing, abandoning their responsibilities to the citizens of the city to act as ineffectual champions of a nationwide crisis. Drive downtown. Drive through Ballard, Fremont U-District, Capital Hill. Ask yourself whether you would you rather live there or Edmonds? If the City Council chooses the former, and takes that decision away from the people of Edmonds, than we need a new City Council.

    1. Jon Stevenson, thank you kindly for your words here. You lived it in Seattle so you have first hand experience of all that was wrong in neighborhoods that allowed degradation to occur. When anyone speaks of “criminalizing homelessness” it is rhetoric meant to insight the ignorant who can’t see the wizard behind the curtain and what they are trying to do to washington state. Citizens did not create the opioid epidemic yet the crime that comes with being a transient drug user is felt by communities that have been targeted. The dismantling of our laws that protect criminals is unconscionable and I wish those promoting lawlessness to take place would move out of this city. when they stay and get their way, they drive the rest of us out. Perhaps if council doesn’t protect the greater good, we should do what parents in kirkland did and file legal action. The state is purchasing hotels to house transients in and bused out to our neighborhoods and communities making their problem ours. Let’s remember, if we don’t hold transient drug addicted accountable when they refuse services we (the community) pay the price. It really feels like an attack on our democracy (enforced laws) and innocent people will be the victims of crimes.

      1. Build housing and they will come; and they will come from all parts of the state. Provide them free services and they will come. Provide them nothing and they will go elsewhere. Simple

        1. This specific issue isn’t about housing, it’s about making and keeping our public spaces safe for their appropriate uses while assuring temporary shelter for a supposedly helpless person in need. It’s our ultra Left leaning CM Ideologues making it about permanently housing the “homeless”, which is a possible related, but different issue in reality.

    2. Agreed I don’t want to get rid of our council members. I would like one to be a little less rude and not talk all of the time but I like it in general. But I agree with all you say and like you said you have lived in SEATTLE and chose to leave because of what was going on and still is. The city council I hope reads these so all can see what we ask from them. I also suggest we refrain our counsel members from using TWITTER as a place to discuss our business in our city. I use it very little and just for about 6 weeks at the most. I only stay to see really what outrageous things have been said and there are some from here I enjoy seeing their feeds and their humor and philosophies. But as a political format for people in office so to speak.. I don’t think so.

    3. Mr. Stevenson – very well said! Please email you comments to the city council to make sure they are heard.

  5. Here’s what Laura Johnson tweeted last night. What do you think about this?
    “Vestiges of the ugly laws, sundown towns, and Bum Blockade persist in our current Quality of Life ordinances. They create second-class citizenship, criminalize poverty and disability, close public space, and encourage vigilante justice. The corporate media arouses fear and dehumanizes the poor and disabled, business groups like the Chamber of Commerce demand the state protect their interests, and police overstep the constitutional limits of their power.” Frankly, Laura Johnson thinks shes lives in NY (different tweet) and wants to represent the politics that ruined Seattle and NY. Targeting the Chamber of Commerce because they don’t want graffiti, garbage strewn about, defecation in our alleys etc. All of her rhetoric speaks volumes that she isn’t representing what’s good for Edmonds. I consider this to be a Dereliction of Duty. (Elected to represent us and is doing the opposite). From her comments and decision making I think she must be tired of what Edmonds citizens care about. This city is a living and breathing thing. It sounds like she wants to destroy what is good and promote injustice to our citizens. Laura needs to hear from citizens! She will be hearing from me.

    1. Thank you for bringing up the article. This portion speaks to me: “This compulsion to control labor and separate the “worthy” from the “unworthy” is deeply ingrained in our culture and institutions. By drawing comparisons between today’s anti-homeless legislation and three specific episodes in U.S. history, we hope to shake the complacency surrounding our present civil rights failures. If we don’t, future generations will surely ridicule our hypocrisies as we do those who came before us.”

      Here is the entire article:

      1. While I would have hoped that the Edmonds City Council would represent the interests and concerns of the current generation living in Edmonds, I will have respect your desire to represent the future ones instead. If sacrificing the safety and security of citizens who have lived here for decades is worth it to you so that this may be the one instance in the history of the human race where those future generations did not look back the past generations as hypocrites and idiots. In reality though, you have no solution to the homeless crisis, and in light of your impotence to effect it, you take action against safety measures that would help shield the people of Edmonds from your institutional failures. You then hide the fact that all you have really done is returned the community to a mutually untenable status quo by making vane attempts to compare this situation to very real historical injustices in a way that both trivializes the racism and inequalities we, not you, had to face and also exaggerates the effect of the public safety laws that the people of Edmonds want to either put in place or just simply have enforced. You don’t protect the homeless population through inaction and returning things to the status quo and you don’t help the people of Edmonds by standing against their desire to live in a safe environment.

      2. Your dog doesn’t hunt, Ms. Johnson. Our business’ can’t find workers, yet our public spaces are full of people who can’t find work and are being abused by the wealthy. There was a sign at McDonald’s last week in Pendleton OR. begging for workers at 17.00HR. for the night shift. The sad thing to me is that people like you are destroying the Democratic Party faction that really does care about workers and wants to help the little guy get ahead. Enough of your college educated wokness. You aren’t helping anyone with that nonsense. James Carvell is right, people like you are just what the extreme Right is counting on.

      3. So, Ms. Johnson,
        A few years back you were all over TV and print media decrying crumb rubber infill as unsafe, arguing in part that it made a playfield an unhealthy place for kids to play. You were outraged. Kids having safe places to play was imperative. It is how you made your voter base. Needles, human waste in public parks?
        Just for grins, look up the child labor abuse of the starving impoverished kids in India mining for cobalt just to eat. Makes you look at EV batteries a whole new way. Oh that’s right, we don’t care if it is those others whose kids that are starving and dying to get the materials for your EVs.
        Hypocrisy is an interesting topic.

    2. Laura Johnson represents me and all of the “citizens” of Edmonds excellently. Thank you, Laura, for your tireless and intelligent work to make Edmonds a city we can be proud of.

  6. Let’s be clear, the problem on this issue is Council members Susan Paine and Laura Johnson. They view the homeless as having more rights and being more deserving of their sympathy than the law-abiding taxpayers, the elderly and children of Edmonds. Who wants to use or allow their children to use a public park populated with homeless persons who are frequently drug addicted and/or mentally ill? Will Chen seems to be undecided and sitting on the fence. Hopefully he will see the light. Council members Tibbott, Buckshnis, Olson and Kristiana Johnson appear to support the ordinance which is well tailored and reasonable. Demand a vote and pass it. It will not solve the homeless issue but, it will give police a legal and reasonable tool to deal with the criminal trespass on public property by homeless if there is shelter space available. Existing trespass laws apply to everyone but, the homeless. Hence the necessity of this ordinance.

    1. Let’s be clear: the problem is NOT Councilmembers Paine and Johnson. The problem is a poorly defined, unenforceable, and perhaps illegal ordinance that they are right to refuse.

      Were the writers on this thread less focused on their resentment and thoughts of retribution, they might see that this proposal, as presently stated, is not only unnecessary, but hugely unworkable.

  7. Round and round we go where we will stop nobody knows. We should do what the experts tell us to do? Isn’t this what we have been doing? How has that been working out I can tell you it hasn’t what it has done is created a industry run by these experts who have shown no real success more of the same is not the answer it only leads to a bigger industry with no incentive to solve the problem that pays their bills. It is not like most of these people became homeless yesterday they have been homeless for months years even decades. They have burned all their bridges with family, friends, employer’s many have been offered help hundreds of times. It is past time we force help upon them I know this goes against the experts recommendations but then again my living isn’t directly tied to having a increasing supply of homeless people that they can get funding for not helping.

  8. Haven’t got time to comment here. I’m busy getting my travel trailer ready to park in the lot up at Yost Park. Apparently the police can’t legally run me out and with the price of gasoline it will be a lot cheaper for me to just hang out up there where I can even go swimming on occasion. I’ll just sneak in the pool to avoid paying the fee. With a little luck Laura J. and Susan P. will drop by and give me some cookies and milk from time to time while checking on my general welfare. I’ll have to be sure they don’t spot my “Perky” supplier or step on any needles I may have inadvertently dropped while treating my metal health issues, because I live in such a broken society. Lots of rich people live in Edmonds Bowl so the corner up there should also be a good place to panhandle for money for groceries (tee-hee). See ‘ya all at the Park.

    1. Thank you Clinton, your commentary was priceless!!!! It painted an appropriate picture of what WILL happen to the neighborhoods we love and Cherish. I used to take my sons to Yost pool more than 2 decades ago and I would never have dreamed what we are facing today. I’m ever more incensed that we have 2 council members who don’t care enough about this community to protect the decency of this city’s people. We are being sidelined in their eyes, Susan and Laura. Will Chen had better separate himself from them or he will show he’s not right for our community. There’s something very wrong with anyone commenting that we should just turn our streets over to lawbreakers. Jon, thanks for your additional commentary, both you and Clinton are an asset to this community by voicing your opinion to protect our city and neighborhoods. Thank you!

  9. The homeless crisis in this state is terrible, but I look at it like this, take a decision with four options: 1. Safe City/Homeless Crisis Solved 2. Unsafe City/Homeless Crisis Solved 3. Safe City/Homeless Crisis 4. Unsafe City/Homeless Crisis. Note: by safe city I mean laws are enforced. The first option, if there was a way to live in it, everyone should pick it. However, nobody is offering that option, nobody has a clear solution to reach that balance. We know this because these same policies of non enforcement have been tried elsewhere and failed. Advocate groups are arguing for the section option and attacking citizens concerned with safety saying how can you put your own safety over those less fortunate than you. They are right, we all need to make sacrifices to lift up those in need. However, again, they have no real plan to solve this. Just look at Seattle for the result of this option and requested sacrifice. The homeless crisis persists. Non enforcement of laws are ineffective in helping the homeless crisis, and in many cases, making the situation worse for everyone. Given that the first two are not viable choices, the people of Edmonds are actually only being given two choice, enact or enforce laws that allow us to live in a safe environment, but that do not directly solve the homeless crisis, or live in an unsafe environment while the homeless crisis remains unsolved. Given those two choices and no clear roadmap to resolving this crisis, I am going to pick the one that keeps my family safe. People will argue that its cruel to pick option 3 and not to support the first two options, but really the alternative they are offering is always just option 4 in disguise. Sacrifice your safety so we can enact policies that solve nothing. If outside groups want to come in to help the situation they should be respected/praised, but they need to help this crisis in consideration of the laws and regulations put in place to keep our city safe.

  10. If Laura and Susan represented the group think of Edmonds, truly, then Luke, Adrienne, and Alicia would be on the council right now instead of Will, Neil, and Kristiana. Their record has not had to be defended as of late. Secondly, during the issues last year in Lake Ballinger, Laura had numerous opportunities to engage with me as a citizen to offer help, support, and solutions. Not a single email or phone call – ever – to a single concern. I do see however she has time to respond here. I had robust and supportive conversations with every single other council member, including Luke, Adrienne, and Susan, even though we had differences on overall approach. Susan and Adrienne even took the time to call me and speak with me on a number of occasions. I consider myself a very reasonable person that can hear opposing viewpoints. The issue here though is there is literally no alternative being offered other than the status quo, which I think most reasonable people like myself would argue is not healthy or safe for anyone involved. I have spent many hours of my very valuable time as a father of a young family of two engaging in this process, volunteering my time on the weekends to make meaningful changes in and around my neighborhood. I have seen it all, and the issues are there – and issues require action. As far as Will Chen who I have a lot of respect for, I am losing respect as each day goes on. He needs to vote with his convictions and be on record one way or another. Delaying to make a hard choice is not why he was elected. Back to my point a second ago – I can respect those I disagree with if they take the time to defend their position and offer dialogue that is respectful. This process has become uncivil, unbecoming for the city, and disrespectful of the citizens. A vote needs to happen – plain and simple.

    1. Well said Tom!! I too have sent previous emails to Laura without a response. She’s the only one who would not engage. Very sad. It tells me she either forgot who she represents, never knew, or only supported city staff ideas. They are not in office. They are employees. Wish more representatives knew the difference.

  11. Assuming this idea was brought to the Council to address a problem identified by Edmonds police and staff, why not give it a try?

    City staff are in the best position to identify problems and suggest solutions for the City Council to consider. They should be listened to.

    Perhaps pass this ordinance with the addition of a “sunset clause” so it ends in a year.
    Then ask the police chief to come back and report to the Council if the new tool was effective in addressing the problem and helped these unfortunate souls.

    If the ordinance helps with the problem, renew it or make it permanent. If the Council is not convinced of it’s usefulness, it can go away, but at least something was tried.

    The City Council has wide latitude to try different approaches and to change directions if that seems best.

  12. I’m glad Ms. L. Johnson is following this thread because maybe she’ll realize that her brand of politics isn’t playing well. Her utter contempt for the citizens of Edmonds was on full display last night. She even told us that she valued outside influence more than she did the voices (emails) of Edmonds residents. Her tweet doubled down on it. It was obvious what the strategy was last night. Babble, delay, procrastinate, run out the clock. You could tell she was watching the clock the entire meeting more than anything else, particularly at the end when she exclaimed that time was up and quickly exited. Her incoherent babbling was also troubling. Diarrhea of the mouth. I was just waiting for her to ask for a brief recess so she could compose herself.

    This is politics at its lowest form. Hence why you get a response like this from me. We deserve better. Now that all sides have been heard, we want this ordinance to come to a vote.

    1. Agree. Police Chief Michelle Bennett and the Deputy Director of Human Services, Shannon Burley both showed professionalism and compassion, even while being peppered by insulting conjectures by L. Johnson and S. Paine.
      Chief Bennett did seem taken back by Will Chen’s amendment implying that her police department lacked common sense discretion, so needed to be micro managed. That amendment failed to pass, as did Chen’s leadership abilities.

    2. I agree with you Ms. Will. Chief Bennett is trying her best to help the homeless get the help they desperately need in an empathetic manner and try to do her best for the majority of citizens and the city at the same time. I don’t know what else Chief Bennett, city staff and the EPD can do. She needs support from this council not statements directed to her from L. Johnson. In my opinion, less credence and importance should be given to L. Johnson and more support directed to other council members and staff who are trying to actually solve the issue.

  13. I’m hopeful that the Council will pass this ordinance. The idea that the City would give preference to vagrants over the tax-paying citizens of the City is beyond my comprehension. The Council should be dedicated to the quality of life for the majority of the citizens not for a slim minority that brings harm to the community and environment.

    We moved here from Seattle to escape the activist City Council who allowed the homeless to destroy the heart of the City. The same problems exist in Tacoma and Olympia where the City Council allows squatters to destroy those cities.

    We, as tax payers, are paying the highest sales tax in the State to dedicate funds to the vagrants (imposed on us by Snohomish County). There are many services available for the homeless. All we are asked in the passage of this ordinance is to establish some ground rules that will give the police tools to protect our city.

    Please pass it.

    1. I’m no expert and don’t claim to be one but the informed opinion that makes sense to me is that homeless addicts never reform until they hit bottom. As long as a, well-meaning, society enables and supports their situation, reform never occurs. As I recall, this situation got a big boost when Seattle copied the decision of Vancouver Canada to supply free needles and supervised application of drugs.
      I realize this is a much more complicated problem, but the concept makes sense to me.

  14. Since CM Laura Johnson thinks there’s no downside to homeless people living in the park, I have to ask: how many homeless people is she willing to have living on her OWN property?

  15. Responding to those who ask if folks opposed to the ordinance are willing to step up and care for members of our community who are unsheltered: I am willing to have a homeless person live on my property if the city would allow me to build a tiny home in the backyard. There’s also a semi-abandoned home on my street on a large lot, and it would be great if the City could buy the space for a tiny house village.

    “And if thy brother be waxed poor and hath fallen into ruin with thee, then thou shalt relieve him, yea though he be a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with thee.” – Leviticus 25:35

    1. Kim, you can add an attached dwelling unit to your house right now by code. So, you don’t have to wait. We’ll be watching for your building permit.

      1. Hi Jim! We’ve considered it, but the footprint of our house would make it difficult to add something on. Hence the idea of a DADU. In any case, we’re hopeful to have the ADU option. Take care and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  16. Ms. Paine and Ms. Johnson aren’t totally wrong about the situation of our society in general or the plight of our homeless downtrodden broken people who simply can’t cope for one reason or another. In short they aren’t bad people nor are most of the homeless bad people. Like most of us, they are the victims of believing that some great ideological perspectives and intellectual insights are going to magically solve all our social problems. The only thing that is going to save us are rules that apply equally to all of us, honest elections, no man or woman above the law, and public servants who actually want to be of service to all the public and look at all sides of every issue before they make the decision that makes the most sense for the most people.

    When you see help wanted signs in virtually every business you walk into, yet your public spaces are full of people who just can’t find work or cope with life in general, you know that someone is “conning” someone for some reason. Current times aren’t like the Depression era when jobs just were not to be found and unemployment was 30%.

    Just like the MAGA crowd has been easily brainwashed into thinking Trump is the great savior, the AOC and BernieCrat crowd has been brainwashed into thinking that social science and wokeness are going to save us. What will save us, if that’s even possible anymore, is open honest communication, open minded education and teaching people to be responsible and self-reliant as much as possible. Sometimes people just have to be made to do things they don’t want to do, or that are hard to do (get off mind altering substances for example) – always in a humane and compassionate way as much as humanly possible. There are no easy, one size fits all answers.

  17. We already have a man sleeping somewhere in Yost Park. For few weeks now as we have watched him come out in AM and go back in before dark. I also witnessed this individual sitting by the park entrance doing drugs, at which time two separate families with young children were walking to go to Yost but when this was seen they turned around and did not enter the park. He has also yelled at my wife and I while in the yard, as well as our nieghbor. I understand there are those who did not chose this lifestyle but there are also those that do and will never accept help if offered.

    Our parks are supposed to be place where families can go enjoy themselves and be safe. Most people are aware of what has happened in Seattle and other surrounding cities over the last few years and the problems that are associated with this behavior. Yes we do need shelters but in the meantime we cannot let our city become Seattle either. I have brought this up to Vivian Olsen as well as another concern as we live next to Yost, and that is the possibility for a wildfire. What would happen in a large heavily treed park like Yost if we get a hot summer and we get someone living in the park and say they start a campfire that gets out of control? Take a look at Yelp for the best camping in Edmonds and you will see Yost as one listed. Our city codes already state no overnight camping in our parks so enforce it!

    Our City Council and this mayor need to look at what is needed to keep the citizens feeling safe and deal with the issue if that be providing temporary shelters, drug enforcement or whatever, but sitting on there hands with their ears closed isn’t going to work. If nothing is done the issue will only get worse.

    1. Mr. Ruis brings up another good point that I’m sure many are overlooking. Many of our parks are heavily treed making for idea camping conditions for those who want their privacy. And what we’re seeing on almost a weekly basis now in the region are out of control encampment fires. Such a fire in one of our parks could be devastating on so many levels. So, for everyone who loves our parks, our environment and our trees, this is yet another reason to support this ordinance. Public safety is the number one responsibility of city government. Let’s help our police help us by passing this ordinance.

  18. Mmmm . . . . . I never thought about Yost going up in flames. Guess, I’ll rethink parking my travel rig up there and start building my home fire break. With Trump’s best Pal, Putin, getting ready to blow up the world to have his way with Ukraine and global warming being unstoppable within 8 years, we just can’t be too careful now, can we?

    This all sort of reminds me of being in the sixth grade in Lincoln NE., hiding under my desk, getting ready for the big one, when the “Russky’s” blow up Strategic Air Command headquarters in Omaha. Our joke was we were kissing our (private parts) good-by when under our desks. Kids just have a way of knowing when something silly is being dumped on them by adults who aught to know better. Then we become adults, and swallow every half baked theory of the good life and salvation put out by some obvious Wizzard of Oz types; claiming to have all the answers.

    We equate banning people from sleeping and/or camping out in our public spaces with thumbing our noses at the supposedly helpless and homeless. What, a leap to, and heap of, utter nonsense. Sixth graders would see thru that lack of logic in a heartbeat.

  19. One also can worry about the homeless camps and NEEDLES containing fentanyl…. Imagine walking our dogs and the pooches getting stuck in their paws with discarded needles still with residual fentanyl…sigh

    Or if a discarded needles goes through one’s shoe containing residual fentanyl…

    In the middle of Yost park…

  20. For all the moms, Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you can get out with your family and enjoy one of our beautiful parks. Just watch where everyone steps, those needles are sharp.

  21. Just read the court decisions. Wonder if any of one on the Council has? The ordinance never defines to whom it applies choosing to refer to homeless and unhoused. No criteria offered. Sets up two separate classes of folks and two separate fine structures. Not gonna cut it, folks.
    Edmonds spends an inordinate ( my opinion) of money on parks. It has been suggested here that the City set up shelters in the parks. How about allowing overnight camping in one of them? Also dedicate a parking lot for use at night. I would suggest the parks that can provide proper shelter would be either Yost or City Park. Water, showers, bathrooms. No tent? the City can provide one. Social services could attend to both groups, anyone could camp out just in that one park. The dedicated parking lot could be located in front of the Waterfront center since there are also facilities in the Center and meals could be provided.
    Folks could bring their pets ( a huge problem with shelters), feel some sense of privacy and autonomy, not be breaking any law at all so different enforcement based on housing status. The parking lot would be the same, for folks who feel safer in their cars and just want a safe place to sleep.
    It would be a better solution suiting the Courts decision than a very iffy ordinance. The police would have clarity about their ability to enforce the law in our other parks and public spaces, since shelter will be available. Social services can be called or offered to anyone who wishes it, and as a community we stop hemorrhaging money to consultants and the burgeoning homelessness industry. It might actually prevent Edmonds from becoming a Seattle. Legally.

  22. This has all become needlessly complicated. As long as the universe of people required to obey this ordinance is “all human beings”, it should be constitutional. I think that is what Mr. Chen was trying to get across, not artfully perhaps, but his intent seems discernable.

    If no viable alternative shelter is “available” anyone just claiming to need to sleep in our public places can do so without harrassment. This is what is now controversial? You can’t get much more open minded, liberal and not a police state than that, yet people on Council scream persecution of the poor. It’s just insane and ignorant on the face of it. God help us all. The patients have taken over the asylum. The petri dish is Seattle next door, but we aren’t even capable of learning from their obvious mistakes.

  23. It’s absolutely exhausting to read this thread and so disheartening at the same time.
    Are we forgetting who we are? We are “Edmonds” with a tagline “It’s an Edmonds Kind of Day”. What does that mean anymore? It certainly doesn’t mean we should be like Seattle. Our comprehensive plan for the city states we are the “Gem of the Puget Sound”. Everything our CC does should protect that. Our CC members were elected to uphold our community and support our comp plan, current codes and ordinances. L. Johnson continues to exhibit a complete lack of understanding this and who and what she represents. I’m not sure how she ever got elected as I’ve never once heard her propose a solution that would positively impact Edmonds. She continually violates our Ethics code through her disgusting twitter rants with no recourse from our mayor or council leader. It’s time smarter minds prevail where other CC members just drown her out.

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