Council Tuesday night set to again consider public camping ban ordinance in Edmonds

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night is scheduled to once again consider a proposed ordinance that would ban camping on city property.

Tuesday marks the fourth time the council will attempt to take a vote on the measure, which is supported by both the City of Edmonds police chief and the city’s human services staff. It 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.”

In other business Tuesday, the council is scheduled to receive a presentation on the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery and hear a resolution regarding the May 18 Sri ChinmoyPeace Run set for downtown Edmonds.

The council is also scheduled to hold a public hearing on the city’s 2023-2028 Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program.

The hybrid meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N., in downtown Edmonds. Those who want to join this meeting virtually in lieu of in-person attendance for the purpose of providing audience comments can click on or paste the following Zoom meeting link into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: https://zoom.us/j/95798484261. Or you can comment by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261

Regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the council meeting webpage, Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.

Prior to the 7 p.m. meeting, the council will hold a special meeting starting at 6 p.m. for two purposes: 1) to award contracts to three firms — Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Forma Construction and Saybr Contractors — that responded to a request for proposals to work with the city’s job order contracting program. The program will permit the quick engagement of contractors in performing small- to medium-sized public works projects. And 2) to hold an executive session on pending or potential litigation.

17 Replies to “Council Tuesday night set to again consider public camping ban ordinance in Edmonds”

  1. I would personally prefer that the council takes a vote on the Ordinance First and then goes on with the awards and all the other. We citizens many would like to have some peace in our lives. I personally think this the protection of out citizens should come before any of the other. I hope they consider this. We have waited what 4 meetings now for this decision. I think that is enough. I do support an amendment to do the 35 mile radius idea so we can find more housing hopefully in other towns around us. I think that will help a lot. I also support working with our other cities within this radius and expect them to do the same. Ok. See you Tuesday. Deb.

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  2. This has gone on far too long. Do your jobs and take the vote. This is a well thought out and reasonable proposal that protects everyone including those who may not be in the state of mind to know how to protect themselves. Those who are going to vote against this are going to no matter what so no further discussion is needed in my humble opinion. Will Chen has prosed the most comprehensive set of amendments to the ordinance so feel it is his responsibility now to pressure his colleagues to move forward.

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  3. When I was a kid I went camping all the time with my family. Back then you had to camp in a campground and you paid a fee to do so. Was there people camping then that didn’t have a home? The answer is yes. Did they pay the fee? The answer is yes. Now for some reason the mantra you here in the news is homelessness isn’t a crime. That mantra has made way for lawlessness, drug dens, filth and garbage pile up, unsafe conditions etc.
    The issue is not homelessness. The issue is drug and mental issues and they go hand in hand.
    We are kidding ourselves if we think that providing free places to camp and essentially squat on public lands is a good thing.
    1. Recognize what the actual problem is.
    2. Provide the homeless resources to address the problem. (Drug rehabilitation and mental illness facility’s)
    3. Pass a law that allows our police to follow number two.
    It is not ok for this city or any other city to continue enabling this homeless lifestyle. These people have drug and mental issues and if laws can be put in place so we can deal with them legally then we need to take that step.
    In the end it is the only way to address the issue. Not doing anything will continue to make matters worse.

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  4. Please pass this ordinance this time. It provides the police and social workers the tools they need to address unhoused persons occupying public lands. Please do pass it this time. Protect our citizens while at the same time offering services.

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  5. Thank you to the council members who are working to adopt a public camping ordinance predicated on the notion that treating the unhoused with a thoughtful, empathetic plan and keeping our streets free of the chaos seen in Seattle are not mutually exclusive goals.

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  6. The Edmonds City Council’s job is to provide for safe and sanitary parks and public spaces in Edmonds period. The Edmonds police need this tool to help them assure that. This is not picking on the poor and homeless and claiming it is, is nothing but lies and propaganda from the extreme political Left that has infiltrated our city government. Our city government should be a non-partisan operation in all ways. Pass this now, four to three if necessary, but pass it! It will be a model for the communities around us – especially Seattle.

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  7. Please be compassionate and don’t let our homeless neighbors sleep in tents and in filth on the streets of Edmonds. This proposal is reasonable and kind. Thank you for your service.

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  8. Please pass the ban on camping on city property. I worked for Seattle Parks Dept. for 28 years as a senior gardener and occasionally grounds supervisor. I saw the impact to the community allowing camping in the parks. It was very dangerous and the neighbors of the parks constantly had vandalism, theft, and sometimes danger to deal with on their properties. I had coworkers beaten up and put in the hospital more than once. Homeless individuals beat up or killed other vulnerable homeless individuals. Seattle grounds employees including myself were constantly harassed and threatened by homeless campers while trying to do maintenance on the parks. The police were overwhelmed and could help much. We cleaned up human waste and needles in the playgrounds and picnic shelters. Occasionally, a Parks staff or citizen would be stuck from a needle. We were forced to remove decades old, beautiful landscaping from parks and reforestation projects for public safety and visibility for the police. We spent so much time cleaning up encampments and waste that we had no time for regular maintenance on the parks and had to let things slide. Unfortunately, many of the individuals that are camping on city property don’t want to get help because it would require following guidelines or rules. The ones that want help, get help pretty fast because it is dangerous to stay in the parks. It was very heartbreaking to witness all this and I loved my job. I was on friendly terms with many of the homeless in our parks and worried for everyone’s safety. Please pass the ban.
    Thank you.

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  9. Please pass this ordinance! I commented on another post but basically I lived in Seattle (Ballard) until the mid-2000s and I have seen the horrible things that happen when a city stops enforcing the law and grants addicts/mentally ill people more rights (the absolute right to do almost anything without consequence) than my family and my children.

    Horrible. Please, please, please pass this ordinance. City Council – citizens depend on you to protect us. Please don’t fail us.

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  10. Please pass the ordinance! I moved to Edmonds from Seattle (Maple Leaf) five years ago because homeless people were trashing my neighborhood – dropping needles on playgrounds, breaking into cars – all the stuff we all know about. Our beautiful town will be just ruined if we don’t outlaw camping on public property.

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  11. The Agenda has been changed, in at least 3 ways:

    There is now only one presentation.

    There is one less consent agenda item.

    The second Council business item has been changed from “BD2 Designated Street Front” to “Special Event Permits and Amendments to ECC Title 4 Licenses”.

    The agenda also states under Audience Comments that speakers may be limited to less that three minutes based on the number of speakers. This seems arbitrary. Many people prepare their comments and practice the comments to make sure they stay within the three minute time limit.

    I hope they recognize this and don’t change the rules depending on how many speakers show up.

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    1. These changes did have some discussion, listing the concerns that you and others have expressed. The discussion supporting transparency and consistency did not prevail.

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      1. Councilmember Susan Paine. City Councilmembers should not be discussing changes to the agenda away from an Open Public Meeting. These discussions and the related vote to amend the agenda should be done in the open, with full transparency. Citizens should know why items previously on the agenda are now gone.

        Please identify what concerns I expressed related to the three items that used to be on the agenda. I don’t recall saying anything to City Council about whether any of these items should be on the agenda.

        It is hard to tell from your comment, but maybe you are only referring to discussions about the potential changes to the LENGTH of Audience Comments. If so, those discussions about transparency and consistency should also have taken place in an open public meeting.

        Council hasn’t called its meeting to order yet, so how could anything have already prevailed? Doesn’t there need to be a vote for something to prevail? Won’t public commenters get three minutes to speak or 450 written words unless Council votes to change that for tonight’s meeting?

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  12. It feels all the time, like having to listen to the citizens is some sort of necessary evil they have to put up with. “Don’t bother trying to talk to me; your noise interferes with my preconceived ideological notions about how the world should operate.”

    I think much of this comes from the nature of our part-time city council system. It seems like a good system would require a regular (once or twice a month) open interaction meeting between council and citizens with little or no limits on comments and the Council Members being allowed, if not required, to respond in real time to citizen comments. Old fashioned town hall system, for lack of a better description. The people in this town are simply not being heard except at election time; that is not enough and the system needs to change.

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  13. Pass the Ordinance, Edmonds is not a KOA.
    I understand that homelessness is not a crime but Theft, possession of stolen property, littering, drunkenness and narcotic use in public is a crime. Not to mention the violence that goes with it. That’s just some of the risk for the public.
    Then you have the homeless themselves.
    The Mentally ill and addicts should be forced into treatment (they’re wards of the state).
    Change of addictive behavior will only happen when the pain of the status quo becomes greater the fear of change. Stop giving addicts an easier softer way.

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  14. Please pass the ordinance! Protect our citizens, community, and public spaces, and get the mentally ill and drug addicted homeless the help they need. It is the compassionate thing to do for all. Thank you.

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