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 a meeting Monday to place I-27 on the February 2018 special ballot instead.

Council member Kathy Lambert, who represents Redmond in District 3, proposed that the initiative be placed on the November special 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.

Council member 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 comes at the end of this 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 Council member Joshua Freed is a member of the I-27 group that got the initiative started this spring. He was at the meeting on 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.

More in News

Suspect arrested for DUI, nearly four times legal limit | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter for Sept. 24 through 26, courtesy of the RPD blog.

Rape allegation against Sen. Joe Fain divides King County Council

In a recent interview, Councilmember Kathy Lambert blamed Fain’s accuser for the alleged rape. Then Lambert’s colleagues distanced themselves from her comments.

Aerotek, TEKsystems hold charity golf tournament

Aerotek and TEKsystems held its Wounded Warrior and Team Gleason Golf Tournament… Continue reading

‘Technologist and philanthropist’ Paul Allen dies at 65

The Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks owner died from cancer on Monday.

State Supreme Court strikes down death penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Redmond aims to make parks, trails more accessible

The city is developing an ADA transition plan, which may extend to all facilities.

Mayor John Marchione presented the 2019-20 preliminary biennial budget at Tuesday’s City Council meeting on Oct. 2.
Mayor presents $797 million preliminary biennial budget

Redmond Mayor John Marchione presented the 2019-20 preliminary biennial budget on Oct. 2.

Mayor John Marchione urged all residents to “speak out against domestic violence and support LifeWire’s efforts to prevent and end domestic abuse,” on Oct. 2. Photo courtesy of LifeWire.
Redmond mayor proclaims October as Domestic Violence Action Month

Andrew Farrell, a LifeWire board director, helps the city council proclaim Domestic Violence Action Month on Oct. 2.

Police recovered this stolen saw, among other expensive tools, when they arrested the suspected tool thief. Courtesy of the Redmond Police Department
Redmond’s Pro-Act team nabs tool thief in latest bust

The Redmond Police Department’s Pro-Act unit has been conducting crime investigations for 13 years.

Most Read