The King County Council voted on Monday to send an alternative to Initiative 27 to the ballot if I-27 is placed on the ballot, giving voters a choice on the future of any proposed safe injection sites in the county.
If passed by voters, the alternative would implement recommendations from of the Heroin and Opioid Addiction Task Force, including the creation of up to two Community Health Engagement Locations (CHEL) sites in hotspots of concentrated substance use and related overdoses, according to a county news release. The safe injection sites would be locations where people would be supervised while using heroin.
By passing the ordinance, the council is giving the voters a choice if I-27 – which would place a countywide ban on CHELs – is put on the ballot.
King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galván ruled Monday that the measure should not be on the February ballot because allowing voters to decide on banning the sites would infringe on the power of the King County Board of Health. The group behind I-27 plans to appeal the decision.
Council members voting in favor of the new measure were Council Chair Joe McDermott, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rod Dembowski, Larry Gossett and Claudia Balducci.
Council members Reagan Dunn, Kathy Lambert, Pete von Reichbauer and Dave Upthegrove voted against the alternative.
Renton City Council unanimously passed a resolution in August banning illegal substance safe injection sites. Renton is among several South King County cities that have banned a safe injection site, including Kent, Auburn, Bellevue and Federal Way.