EVERETT, Wash. — On Wednesday, the Everett City Council approved a new ordinance, “no sit, no lie,” to crack down on homeless encampments in parts of the city.
The ordinance focuses on a 10-block area in and around downtown.
The ordinance outlaws sitting or lying down on sidewalks or streets, and violators could be jailed up to three months and be slapped with hundreds of dollars worth of fines.
Even in an industrial neighborhood like Smith Avenue, lawmakers said homeless people are causing major problems.
Before the council voted, the public weighed in during a virtual meeting.
“As an employer, I’ve had a lot of experience of cleaning up around our building,” a business owner said. “They dump garbage all over the place.”
“I’m calling to express my opposition to the ‘no sit, no lie’ ordinance,” an Everett resident said. “You are playing wack-a-mole with people’s lives and well-being.”
In a KIRO 7 report on Sunday, Everett City Council President Brenda Stonecipher said, “There are many businesses that have come to us, talking about cleaning up waste and a lot of medical debris, needles, and all sorts of things out there.”
Stonecipher also said, “There are a lot of business owners down there that are routinely the victims of criminal activity, so we’re trying to strike a balance, and this seems like the way to do it.”
An opponent of the ordinance, Penelope Protheroe of Angel Resource Connection said, “These people have feelings.”
Protheroe also said, “They’re miserable, and they’re suffering, so we’re kicking them when they’re down.”
The “no sit, no lie” ordinance is attached to a plan to provide 20 miniature houses for the homeless called pallet shelters. And until those are built, the ordinance will not take effect.