King County Council approves $125 fine for public urination
The King County Council passed an ordinance that bans public urination and defecation in rural, unincorporated King County.
The ordinance passed in an 8 to 1 vote Oct. 14, with Councilmember Joe McDermott opposing.
There was no discussion on the ordinance.
Seventeen cities in King County, including Seattle, already have laws banning public urination. Until now, the 1,700 square miles of unincorporated King County lacked any such legal barrier.
The ordinance creates a civil infraction, similar to a parking ticket, and carries a maximum penalty of $125.
Several of King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s colleagues initially resisted the proposal when she introduced it Aug. 27, fearing that it could harm homeless people who do not have access to restrooms.
That may be happening in Seattle already.
Since Jan. 1, 2012, the Seattle Police Department issued 210 tickets for public urination and defecation; 166 of them are unpaid according to the Seattle Municipal Court.
With those concerns in mind, the King County law will apply only to rural unincorporated areas, and not to urban regions with more homeless people such as White Center and Skyway.
Lambert proposed the law Aug. 27 after hearing complaints from Fall City residents. Public urination is rampant, Lambert said, during events such as the Cascade Bicycle Club Flying Wheels Summer Century and the Survivor Mud Run at Remlinger Farms, which each draw thousands to the Fall City area.
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