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.

King County Council member Kathy Lambert 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

An architectural rendering of what the new Dick Scobee Elementary School will look like. COURTESY, Auburn School District
Public invited to Nov. 14 open house to learn more about new Scobee Elementary School

Building for Learning, a Dick Scobee Community Open House, is set for… Continue reading

Eric Davis. COURTESY PHOTO
Auburn speaker selected for statewide program

Auburn resident Eric Davis has been selected to serve on Humanities Washington’s… Continue reading

Veteran turns 100 on centennial of WWI ending

Man recalls life, Air Force pilot experience

This tiled-section of the American-Vietnamese memorial bears the names of veterans who fought in the conflict, which came to an official end in 1975. ROBERT WHALE, Auburn Reporter
Public welcomed to visit the Vietnam War monument

Joint American-Vietnamese memorial at Les Gove Park was years in the making

Don Hanson: Sailor, World War II veteran and Auburn VFW member dies at 96

Served five years aboard a U.S. Navy battleship in the Pacific theater

Remembering a veteran settler: Oscar Skagen

By Maurice Skagen and Karen Meador/For the Reporter The centennial of the… Continue reading

Residents, groups to receive Outstanding Service to Veterans Awards in Auburn

Two Washington veterans organizations and seven residents, including Auburn’s Aaron Quinonez, will… Continue reading

Serve and sacrifice: show of honor for veterans, military members

Spectators embrace procession of military units, marching bands and other groups | PHOTOS

Authorities need public’s help to find missing man from Skyway area

Detectives need the public’s help to locate a missing man from the… Continue reading

Most Read