A new King County ordinance sponsored by Councilmember Kathy Lambert (who represents the Snoqualmie Valley) creating the offense of urinating or defecating in public is set to be discussed and possibly enacted at the King County Council’s September 30th meeting.
Currently, state law and county code prohibit these acts only in transit centers, but not in other public places. 17 King County cities currently have these types of ordinances, including North Bend. Six other counties in Washington also outlaw intentionally urinating and defacing in public.
The proposed ordinance defines public places as those “that are generally visible to public view” and says the act must be intentional.
Public places defined in the ordinance include streets, sidewalks, bridges, alleys, plazas, parks, bike trails, driveways, parking lots, automobiles whether moving or not, vacant land and buildings open to the general public, including those that serve food or drink or provide entertainment and the doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings and the grounds enclosing them.
Hiking trails were originally included in the list of public places, but the King County Sheriff’s Office suggested they be removed.
Sheriff’s Deputies would be able to exercise discretion when enforcing the ordinance, taking into account the setting and the individual before deciding to issue a warning or a citation.
Violation of the proposed county ordinance can result in a civil citation and a possible fine of $250. If passed, the new law would be enforceable in unincorporated King County areas of the Snoqualmie Valley.