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11/09/2021 04. Public Safety Issues in Downtown 1 i rr 11 i � ��iO enc u nrry•1 BUSINESS OF THE CITY COUNCIL YAKIMA, WASHINGTON AGENDA STATEMENT Item No. 4. For Meeting of: November 9, 2021 ITEM TITLE: Public Safety Issues in Downtown SUBMITTED BY: Robert Harrison, City Manager SUMMARY EXPLANATION: At the October 5, 2021 City Council meeting, staff was directed to add this as a study session discussion. ITEM BUDGETED: STRATEGIC PRIORITY: APPROVED FOR SUBMITTAL BY THE CITY MANAGER RECOMMENDATION: ATTACHMENTS: Description Upload Date Type O white paper 11/5/2021 Corer Memo ❑ Towing Policy 11/5/2021 Corer Memo O white paper downtown crime and nusiance 10/7/2021 Corer Memo ❑ short sheet other juris 10/7/2021 Corer Memo 0 update on Cascade and Senator skybridge 11/5/2021 Corer Memo 2 MEMORANDUM To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the Yakima City Council From: Bob Harrison, City Manager Date: November 8, 2021 RE: Downtown Public Safety in Yakima This white paper focuses on the issue of downtown public safety primarily around the issues the downtown is experiencing with the homeless population. This paper outlines the various legal parts of the code used by police to address these issues, a report on these issues from the Police Department, an update from Community Development on the Savoy, Senator, and Cascade Apartments, along with some suggestions and ongoing evaluation of additional programs. Legal The following nuisance ordinances exist in City Code and is available for the Police Department to utilize. Also attached is a memorandum from City Attorney Watkins on a review of other jurisdiction nuisance laws. In addition to the list below, the City has also relied heavily on the Unlawful Camping Ordinance with is found here. 1. Disorderly conduct: Criminal Misdemeanor A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if the person: (a) Uses abusive language and thereby intentionally creates a risk of assault; (b) Intentionally disrupts any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority; (c) Intentionally obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic without lawful authority... 2. Fighting in Public: Criminal Misdemeanor It is unlawful for any person to fight or quarrel or to encourage others to fight in any public place in the city of Yakima. 3. Drug and Alcohol regulations. The Yakima Municipal Code adopts by reference the state's-controlled substances regulations. Further, the Code adopts many of the alcohol regulations, including the following: RCW 66.44.100: Infraction. Opening or consuming liquor in public place—Penalty. Except as permitted by this title, no person shall open the package containing liquor or consume liquor in a public place. 3 4. Urinating in Public: Criminal Misdemeanor It is unlawful for any person to urinate or defecate in any public place or place open or available to the public, other than in a facility designed or provided for that purpose. 5. Approaching people and asking for money. In general, soliciting money from others, or begging, is not able to be regulated due to constitutional matters and a person's freedom of speech. However, when people aggressively beg or interfere with another's ability to use the sidewalk or street,those actions can be regulated. Yakima has the following ordinances regarding pedestrian and vehicular interference: 6.75.020 Pedestrian or vehicular interference. A. A person is guilty of pedestrian or vehicular interference if, in a public place in the city of Yakima, he or she intentionally: 1. Obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic; or 2. Aggressively begs; or 3. Participates in begging within the perimeter of any city public parking lot or within the area of parking stalls located within the city's public right-of-way. B. Among the circumstances to be considered in determining whether a person intends to aggressively beg are whether that person: 1. Touches the person solicited; 2. Follows the person solicited; 3. Directs profane or abusive language toward the person solicited; 4. Uses violent or threatening gestures toward the person solicited; or 5. Persists in begging after the person solicited has given a negative response. C. The following definitions apply to subsection A of this section: 1. "Obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic" means to walk, stand, sit, lie or place an object in such a manner as to block passage by another person or vehicle to such an extent that evasive action is necessary to avoid physical contact. Innocent acts which unintentionally and inadvertently block traffic or cause others to take evasive action; acts authorized as an exercise of one's constitutional right to picket or to legally protest; and acts authorized by permit issued pursuant to this code shall not constitute an obstruction or interference with pedestrian or vehicular traffic. 2. "Aggressively beg" means to beg with the intent to intimidate another person into giving money or goods. 3. "Intimidate" means to engage in conduct which would make a reasonable person fearful or feel compelled. 4. "Beg" means to ask for money or goods as a charity, whether by words, bodily gestures, signs, or other means. 5. "Public place" means an area generally visible to public view and includes, but is not limited to, alleys, bridges, buildings, driveways, parking lots, parks, 4 plazas, sidewalks and streets open to the general public, and doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings accessible to the public and the grounds enclosing them. 6.75.025 Receipt of items from the occupant of a motor vehicle at certain intersections prohibited. A. The purpose of this section is to promote the city's fundamental interest in public health and safety, by regulating conduct that occurs at high accident and/or high volume intersections and to provide for the free flow of motor vehicle traffic on roadways in the city. The city council finds that the intersections listed in subsection D of this section are high accident and/or high traffic volume intersections and to receive any item from the occupant of a motor vehicle upon a roadway within these intersections presents a threat to public safety and the free and safe flow of motor vehicle traffic. B. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply: 1. "Item" means any physical object. 2. "Permitted parking area" means an area in which parking a vehicle is authorized. 3. "Receive" means to acquire or collect any item from the occupant of a motor vehicle that is located in the roadway. 4. "Roadway" means that portion of the road designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel within the city. This definition excludes private roads and private property. This definition also excludes areas where parking is permitted in the city. C. It shall be unlawful to violate any prohibitions set forth below within the areas listed in subsection D of this section: 1. No person shall receive any item from an occupant of any motor vehicle when the vehicle is located in the roadway. 2. This section shall not apply to the receipt of any item with the occupant of a motor vehicle on private property or in a permitted parking area. 3. This section shall not apply to any law enforcement officer acting within the scope of his or her official duty. 4. This section shall not apply to the receipt or exchange of any item with the occupant of a motor vehicle located in the roadway in order to assist the occupant after a motor vehicle accident, with a disabled motor vehicle, or where the occupant is experiencing a medical emergency. Section D then lists 26 different intersections,based on traffic safety information,that are subject to this ordinance. Not every intersection in the City can be listed, as the list is to be determined by traffic safety issues, and reviewed periodically. Here is a sample of the intersections subject to this ordinance: North 1st Street and: East I Street North 40th and: River Road/Powerhouse, West Lincoln, Englewood, Fruitvale South 1st Street and: Washington, Nob Hill, Walnut, Mead, West Yakima South 40th Avenue and: Nob Hill, Tieton, Summitview South 64th Avenue and: Nob Hill 5 6. Littering: Infraction and fine of$95.00 No person shall throw, drop, deposit, discard or otherwise dispose of litter on any street, alley, sidewalk or other public place or upon a private residence or other private property not controlled or owned by such person within the city of Yakima, or in any body of water or waterway within the jurisdiction of the city, except: 1. When such property is designated by the state, its authorized agencies or by the city of Yakima for the disposal of litter and solid waste; or 2. Into a litter receptacle or other container in such a manner so that the litter will not be strewn or blown about or otherwise carried away and deposited by the elements upon any public place or private property of another; or 3. When the person disposing of the litter has prior consent of the owner or person in possession of such property and when the litter is deposited in such a manner so as not to cause a public nuisance or to be in violation of any other applicable law or regulation. 7. Shopping Carts: Fine of$115.00 to cart owner for failure to retrieve. Stores are required to have a permanent identification sign on their carts, notify the public that unauthorized removal form the premises is unlawful, and keep on file with the City a current contact person, with contact information, for the purposes of reporting abandoned, lost or stolen carts. If officers see an abandoned shopping cart outside of the premises identified on the cart,they can impound it after notice is given to the store (unless waived)and 24 hours have passed and the cart has not been retrieved. Officers can also impound a cart without notice in the event the cart is in a hazardous location (impeding emergency services, in the roadway or blocking a sidewalk) and give notice to the store that they need to retrieve the cart within 96 hours or the city will impose a collection fee. Officers can also immediately impound abandoned carts if there is no identification on the cart. The collection fee per cart is $115.00. 8. Dangerous weapons: Gross Misdemeanor The City has adopted state statutes regarding carrying firearms and weapons. It has also added a section regarding unlawful possession and use of certain kinds of knives, including swords and other knives commonly used for fighting. 9. Park Rules: Violators are subject to a $250.00 fine and/or 90 days in jail. The following rules can only be applied and enforced within designated City parks. This is a sample, and all park rules can be found in YMC 13.16. 13.16.030 Defacing and injuring property prohibited. No person shall cut, break, mark upon, or in any way injure or deface any of the buildings, seats,fences, gates or other property in any park or playground. 6 13.16.050 Fires allowed only in prepared places. No campfires or other outdoor or open fires shall be lighted or made anywhere in any park or playground, except in places prepared for such purposes. 13.16.055 No structures in parks-exceptions. No structures are allowed to be installed or placed within a park except those what tare authorized by city staff, or a temporary structure with only a roof and no walls. If a structure is installed, it is declared a public nuisance. 13.16.080 Trash to be placed in receptacles-Toilets not be defaced. No papers, boxes, food, litter,trash or material of any kind shall be thrown on the grass, walks or driveways, but the same must be placed in the receptacles provided for that purpose. The comfort stations and toilets shall not be defaced nor improperly used, nor the plumbing thereof obstructed or injured. 13.16.110 Animals prohibited from running at large. Except as provided in YMC 13.16.115, no cattle, horses, dogs or other animals shall be turned into, or allowed to run at large in, any park, playground or parkway, nor shall any dog or other animal be permitted to enter any pool or water of any park. All dogs brought into any park or playground must be held on leash. 13.20.020 Using park with unlawful intent or purpose. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter upon or remain in any public park owned by the city of Yakima with the intent or for the purpose of committing any unlawful act. Fines for violations can be up to $1,000.00 rather than $250.00. 13.20.030 Park curfew imposed-Exceptions-Park posting and warning as conditions precedent to conviction. A. It is unlawful for any person to enter upon or remain in any public park owned by the city of Yakima between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m. of the following day, unless the presence of such person in such park during prohibited hours is authorized by a park use permit issued pursuant to YMC 13.16.100 or otherwise is incidental to an activity or function conducted by or under the auspices of the department of parks and recreation of the city of Yakima. B. No person shall be convicted for violating the curfew imposed by this section unless such violation occurred in a park conspicuously posted with signs warning against entry into or remaining in the park during prohibited hours. C. No person shall be convicted for violating the curfew imposed by this section unless, prior to being arrested, such person had been warned by a police officer of the conditions established by this section. D. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to any duly authorized city employee in the performance of his or her duties. 7 Security The attached memorandum from the Police Department describes the current state of response and resources dedicated to downtown homelessness related activities. As discussed further in the legal sections and on the presentation to City Council on September 27, various changes in state law related to police response have put limits around the type and nature of calls the department responds. Here are a few items that could be considered and worked in conjunction with DAY. Consideration of these items include but are not limited to: • A more robust private security response. A private security contractor could be contracted for an umbrella type service in the Downtown District as a whole. This could not be funded with public dollars given the strong argument that they could be considered deputized police and subject to the same restrictions our police force is subject too. • The development of a grant program similar to the DAY façade program to encourage more cameras in downtown business and in the public rights of way that could be shared or coordinated with the police department and its crime analysts to help identify suspects and solve crime. We discovered that many of the recent burglaries in the downtown the recording was of insufficient clarity and lighting to be any help. • A bike patrol with Yakima Police Officers that would be available for events and during certain hours of the day. This would be overtime assignments and coordinated with DAY to meet their planned programming. City Council authorized this concept in the more robust Clean City program. Mental Health Response Mobile Response Unit: The City is reviewing a proposal from Comprehensive Health to partner with the City on providing dedicated medical-response units that would be connected to SunComm dispatch and would be dispatched directly to mental health related calls. This would include some Firefighter/EMT along with mental health responders. This would divert several calls for police officers that wouldn't have to be dispatched to these calls. The medical approach to these calls hopefully would lead to better outcomes. The proposal still needs additional review but should be able to be finalized in the next 60-90 days. ARPA funds would be utilized for portions of the program. The concept would be a 2 year pilot. If successful, we will need to plan to build these costs into future operating budgets. The cost exceeds $1 million annually. Similar programs have been put in place in Eugene, Oregon, Seattle, and Denver, Colorado. The mental health tax should be explored to cover portions of this program if we can partner with the County on this program. Drop-In Center: There are opportunities to help support individuals who are experiencing homelessness through the provision of a drop-in center. These facilities provide a climate controlled, safe place for individuals where they can charge their phones, meet basic hygiene 8 needs, and potentially receive services depending on what services are provided at the Center. The best route is to issue a Request for Proposals which I would anticipate occurring in first quarter of 2022. There may be several providers interested in providing a service. The challenge of such a program if the City funded any operating costs would be maintaining these programs over time. Trash Control on Downtown Dumpsters: A lot of the trash in garbage containers in the downtown is fished through and claimed and then later ends up as litter that gets cleaned up by the Clean City cleanup crew. While anecdotal, it appears that the dumpsters get filled with trash beyond just the customer affiliated with the dumpster. In terms of regulation, the City could explore an ordinance requiring dumpsters to be locked and secured. That doesn't guarantee an outcome, as they typically aren't "fully secured", and can be accessed on the sides by bending the tops. If others are dropping off their trash in dumpsters, a locked dumpster may not prevent people leaving their trash at the dumpster anyway. It may have some marginal impact. Another option is to require dumpsters to be emptied more often which would have to be defined (e.g. when they are filled). That will increase costs on the businesses for increased pickup. It will also require increased code enforcement efforts by the City. These options will require additional research. The City Council did approve a more robust Clean City program. This program will now include staffing to allow for a mobile route to pick up those areas most affected. It will also allow for multiple visits to the same location as an areas early morning cleanup might be completely trashed again a few hours later. Savoy, Senator, Cascade Apartments Update These three properties have had several public safety and related public nuisance complaints. These three parcels are in various stages of property maintenance enforcement and/or legal action driven by the administration. Many of the individuals found in the building by local service providers were found to be homeless and/or squatting in the property and they were able to provide many of them access of to services. Included is an update from the Community Development Department. Additionally, the sky bridge connecting the Cascade and Senator apartments is nearly completely removed and should be completely down by mid-November. Enhance Human Services in the Lower Valley As we have discussed in the past, enhanced services in the lower valley would reduce the homeless population in Yakima as many of these individuals are brought here or attracted here because of the services being provided within the City. The provision of those services in the lower valley would allow those individuals who are experiencing homeless to be closer to family 9 or friends in those areas. Continued political dialogue with Yakima County to begin to utilize its resources is critically important. 10 CITY OF YAICEVIA LEGAL DEPARTMENT 200 South Third Street,2nd F1. I Yakima,WA 98901 P: 509.575.6030 I F: 509575.6160 MEMORANDUM October 8, 2020 TO: Bob Harrison, City Manager Jeff Cutter, City Attorney FROM: Cynthia Martinez, Senior Assistant City Attorney SUBJECT: State v. Long- Towing Policy Draft for 10/9/2020 meeting The MRSC document (attached) contains a good summary of the State v. Long issue. Basically, vehicles that are used as a primary residence may not be held or sold at auction to satisfy the cost of tow and storage. I recently learned that the Washington Supreme Court has accepted Review. But, it may be another couple of years before we receive a Washington Supreme Court Decision. I don't predict that they will overrule the decision, but they could provide clarity. For example, the State v. Long case does not require that the vehicle owner claim the Homestead Exemption for the exemption to apply. Most other cases in which the Homestead Act is a factor, the owner is required to claim the exemption. That clarification would help Cities and Counties immensely. The following are proposed courses of action that could be taken to allow the City of Yakima to safely tow vehicles in which the Homestead Act may apply. Number of vehicles this policy may affect: (Per James Dean) 242 total vehicles impounded 1/1/2020-7/05/2020 Of the total number of impounds 137 could be protected under the Homestead Act. The breakdown by vehicle type is as follows RV's — 3 Sport Utility - 7 Pass. Car - 113 Pass. Van - 2 Pass. Truck 12 11 Other jurisdiction approaches: There isn't much information available to compare the approach of other jurisdictions. The other jurisdictions that I have spoken to, like us, are exploring their options. The City of Seattle elected to set up parking lots for Homestead Act Vehicles to park and they allow owners to live out of the vehicles. The City of Spokane is only towing Homestead Act vehicles for Public Safety Hazard reasons. For other towing reasons they are working with the owners to avoid the tow. Spokane has not towed any Homestead Act Vehicles to date. Optional approaches: 1. Moratorium on the Towing of Homestead Act Vehicles until the Supreme Court Decision. 2. Initiate Parking lots for Homestead Act Vehicles. (Seattle Approach) 3. Adopt a policy that permits tows of Homestead Act Vehicles for certain reasons thereby t reducing the risk to City. (Spokane's approach) 4. Do not limit the reasons a Homestead Act Vehicles may be towed and contract with a towing company to reduce costs and risk to City. Draft Towing Policy that reduces risks when Homestead Act applies: A vehicle is subject to public tow for violation of City Ordinance. Homestead Act Applies to vehicles when: - Vehicle is used as a primary residence - By the owner of the vehicle The owner does not have to claim a Homestead exemption, which means we will have to use our senses to determine if the vehicle is being used as a primary residence and we must document the facts or lack of facts: - Does the driver state that they live in the vehicle? - Does the vehicle look like it may be used as a residence? (bedding and other household materials) - Is the vehicle designed to be used as a residence? (camper , RV etc) Suggested Preliminary steps: Contract with a tow company to handle vehicles used as a home and draft ordinance that allows City to recover costs. - RFP process - competitive tow and storage rate. o The vehicle will not be subject to sale and the owner can retrieve the vehicle. o City will pay the tow and storage fees - City will store the vehicle after 30 days in an appropriate City lot (security, infrastructure, and zoning requirements are met). Such lot needs to be identified. See "Special Issue" explanation below. - Restitution for fees through Small Claims Court (will require City Ordinance modifications and may not be worth the legal cost/effort) - Staff Training 12 Procedure: If a vehicle should be towed and it fits the criteria for a primary residence, the following steps should be followed: 1. Educate the owner regarding City of Yakima parking regulations and work with the owner to locate a better place to park. Provide the brochure that is being developed by the Clean City Project. 2. If the vehicle continues to violate the parking or other traffic regulations that would normally lead to tow. a. Request supervisor pre-approval for tow. b. Call the tow company designated to handle these type of cases. c. Use your discretion to Cite for infractions. 3. Once Towed, City personnel should monitor the disposition of the vehicle. If unclaimed, the vehicle may be transferred to a storage lot and a file should be initiated in Legal. 4. Training: Once moratorium on towing is lifted, the personnel who will be using this policy should receive training to make sure these types of tows occur pursuant to the policy. General Law Enforcement Officer in-service training should also be provided. Special Issue: What if the Homestead Act vehicle is not retrieved by the owner after the tow? Under the Homestead Act, property cannot be declared abandoned until either the owner declares the property abandoned or after 6 months without use. In our case, six months after the tow, the City may go to Superior Court and have the vehicle declared abandoned. Once declared abandoned, the City may sell the vehicle. Our experience is that these vehicles have little to no value. The City will not want to pay a third party to store the vehicle during this extended time frame. We will have to identify a City lot that has the appropriate zoning, surface preparation and security for storage. Risks: If the City does not identify a vehicle that is used as a primary home and the vehicle goes through the normal tow procedure which includes holding the vehicle for sale and auction, the City may be deemed to have violated the Homestead Act. This could cause the City to be responsible for the value of the vehicle, other costs and penalties, and could lead to bad press. This area of the law is new and it is hard to predict what theories could exist that may lead to City liability. For example: Loss of use. Legislative priorities: One potential fix to this situation is to advocate for a Homestead exemption for tow liens under RCW 6.13.080(1). 13 City of Yakima ` 200 S. 3rd Street Police Department Yakima, Washington 98901 _' St 43 Matthew Murray, Chief of Police Telephone(509) 575-6200 Fax(509) 575-6007 POW)# Memorandum September 29, 2021 To: Chief Matthew Murray Chief of Police From: Captain Shawn M. Boyle #4618 Patrol Division Commander Subject: Yakima Police Department Response to Homeless Issues Introduction The purpose of this memorandum is to outline the Yakima Police Department's response to nuisance crimes in the City of Yakima. The majority of the offenders who commit violations of nuisance ordinances are transients and homeless persons who reside throughout the city often in camps or individual camping areas. For purposes of this memorandum, nuisance ordinances will include such crimes as trespassing, illegal camping,park violations, liquor/drug violations, and possession of stolen shopping carts. The Yakima Police Department is using a combination of enforcement, education, and the offering of resources to address the numerous issues associated with the nuisance ordinance violations. The officers are working with the prosecutor's office and a number of local non-profit and community resources to help the homeless individuals change their lifestyle and obtain services and housing. Special Projects Sergeant/Unit The Yakima Police Department created a Special Projects Sergeant position whose duties include addressing the nuisance ordinance violations in the City of Yakima. In addition, the Special Projects Sergeant works with the Crime Free Rental Housing Program and nuisance properties in the city limits. Sergeant Fowler has been working in this position since its creation at the start of 2020. The department recognized the need for a commissioned employee to address the issues in the downtown area and with nuisance properties in the City of Yakima. Sergeant Fowler has experience working with the Crime Free Rental Housing Program, Code Enforcement, and has demonstrated the ability to develop innovative strategies to address the issues specific to these crimes. Sergeant Fowler uses his own money to purchase items for the people who congregate 14 throughout our city in order get them to help with keeping our city clean. This has been an effective tool to gain compliance and assistance from people in the downtown area. Sergeant Fowler has one officer assigned to work with him in 2020 when COVID 19 closed the Yakima Schools and we were able to reassign a School Resource Officer to the Special Projects Unit. Following the officer's return to the school, department staffing has left us unable to assign a second employee to assist Sergeant Fowler. Sergeant Fowler serves on a committee which was formed by Governor Inslee that addresses homeless related issues in the State of Washington. Outreach Sergeant Fowler has developed relationships with local outreach programs to include the Union Gospel Mission and Camp Hope. He works with the staff to offer homeless persons viable housing options rather than remaining on the streets. The ability for persons to take advantage of housing opportunities is used to develop probable cause to arrest persons for illegal camping should they choose not to take advantage of the offers from outreach groups. Sergeant Fowler reports a large majority of persons do not take advantage of the available housing opportunities. The patrol officers have been educated regarding outreach programs in the city and they too report a significant number of homeless do not want to stay at the Union Gospel Mission, Camp Hope or other temporary housing opportunities. Comprehensive Mental Health The Yakima Police Department currently has Designated Crisis Responders who are partnered with our patrol officers. The crisis responders ride with the officers and often make contact with the homeless and transients who Sergeant Fowler and officers frequently encounter. These interactions have led to persons willingly accepting services. In some cases, the DCR has determined the person is not able to take care of themselves and he or she have been involuntarily committed for mental health assessments and treatment. Comprehensive Mental Health has a housing resource outreach employee. Lieutenant Stephens and I met with the supervisor at Comprehensive Mental Health to try to connect Sergeant Fowler and the housing outreach employee to deliver additional resources to the homeless population of Yakima. Shopping Carts Yakima Police Officers contact individuals who possess shopping carts from various businesses throughout the city. The officers remove the shopping carts and inform the persons who are in possession of the carts that this is a criminal act. Sergeant Fowler works closely with the Refuse Department to clean up the various items that are sometimes left from people who illegally possess shopping carts and have them taken by 15 officers. Sergeant Fowler also works with local businesses to have them pick up the carts from the police station when they can. According to Sergeant Fowler, the Refuse Department is responsible for insuring businesses secure their carts at their property. This would lessen the ability for persons to take the carts from the businesses and walk throughout the city with them. According to Yakima Police Records, officers have not cited anyone for possession of a shopping cart, but Sergeant Fowler reports we have collected hundreds of shopping carts from people in our community. Illegal Camping Illegal Camping is a crime in the City of Yakima. Sergeant Fowler and patrol officers have been enforcing the illegal camping ordinance when applicable. The employees offer housing alternatives to persons they observe illegally camping. Documentation is a key to developing probable cause in order to make arrests for illegal camping. Sergeant Fowler issues numerous warnings to persons who are illegally camping prior to making an arrest. In addition, Sergeant Fowler does not always make custodial arrests for illegal camping, allowing prosecutors to determine whether they will move forward with charges in individual cases. I recently met with Yakima City Prosecutor Cynthia Martinez, and she agreed to increase sentencing recommendations for individuals who plea or are found guilty of illegal camping with a maximum recommendation of 30 days. The longer sentences could lead to offenders choosing to take advantage of services offered to them while incarcerated. The department made 25 arrests for Illegal Camping in the last 12 months. Trespassing The most common crime persons were arrested for in the Central Business District over the last 12 months was Criminal Trespass. There were 23 arrests for Criminal Trespass 14 Degree and 52 arrests for Criminal Trespass 2nd Degree. These arrests cover offenses that occurred in buildings and on property. With the changes in the state laws regarding uses of force and police procedures, community members need to be more involved in the process of warning offenders and be willing to prosecute offenders for trespassing. The department is in the process of obtaining new trespass letters that include a portion that states the owner/victim is willing to pursue charges when officers find people trespassing on property in which a letter exists. This process is ongoing and will continue. Relocation of Persons Sergeant Fowler was allotted a budget to help homeless individuals in the City of Yakima relocate to cities where they have family, friends, or treatment providers. In order to take 16 advantage of this process, Sergeant Fowler contacts the individual's family member,friend or treatment provider and insures the person has support where they are going. Once Sergeant Fowler establishes the person has a place to go at their destination, Sergeant Fowler interviews them on his in-car camera system to show the relocation is voluntary and then completes a report about the incident. This has allowed numerous persons to return to a location where they have support and/or obtain treatment to address their mental health or drug abuse issues. When persons travel, Sergeant Fowler arranges food for the individual to have throughout the length of their journey. Sergeant Fowler said has helped over 25 persons with this program including 10 to rehabilitation. Justice Assistance Grant The department utilizes Justice Assistance Grant(JAG)funding to conduct emphasis patrols that address nuisance related issues in the City of Yakima. The funds are allocated by the federal government to address crime issues. Officers volunteer to participate in the emphasis patrols. Without the use of these funds, it would be difficult for officers to address the specific issues related to nuisance crimes. Each night, officers in the Patrol Division check the downtown areas for trespassers and illegal campers, but call volume and staffing levels affect the amount of time officers can dedicate to these efforts. The emphasis patrols allow the officers to address the nuisance issues and not have to respond to calls for service. Recommendations Sergeant Fowler stated a number of issues arise when community members donate to the people who are congregating throughout the city. The city should encourage people not to donate throughout the city and if we choose to encourage the behavior, there should be one dedicated location for people to donate at. This would alleviate the issues of garbage being disposed of throughout the downtown area of the city. Sergeant Fowler works well with the Refuse Department, but throughout COVID 19, there was little interaction between the Code Enforcement Officers and Sergeant Fowler. The officers were rarely in the field and Sergeant Fowler and the Refuse Department often addressed numerous issues on a daily basis. Better cooperation between the divisions and a more focused coordinate effort would be beneficial to address the homeless issues. The police department has limited means and resources to address the issues associated with the nuisance crimes other than making arrests. In the last 12 months, Yakima Police Officers have documented 5, 148 cases in which they addressed issues involving homeless individuals. The department's main focus is the reduction of violent crime and we often find officers' time being dedicated to non-violent offenses. 17 Captain Shawn Boyle #4618 Chief Matthew Murray 18 �401-' YA�iNkk, 4 rr I� , •..� 4� • ...,400 • • i •�6 �,''k Ic6RpoRATEo N5 K - Office of the City Attorney City of Yakima PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL: COVERED BY THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT AND ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT PRIVILEGES MEMORANDUM July 2, 2021 TO: Bob Harrison, City Manager FROM: Sara Watkins, City Attorney SUBJECT: Review of other jurisdictions' nuisance laws I have conducted a review of many jurisdictions' codes with regards to nuisance laws, looking for laws that the City of Yakima may not have in place in its ordinances but could be beneficial in addressing nuisance activity. I also address herein some legal matters that often are brought up but are not able to be laws due to constitutionality or previous court determinations so that Council can be aware of the limitations of such laws as well. If you would like additional information or further discussion, please let me know. 1. Ordinances commonly referred to as "sit-lie" ordinances. Although the City has other ordinance that address obstruction of streets and sidewalks, it does not have what is commonly referred to as a "sit-lie" ordinance. "Sit-lie" ordinances are those that prohibit any person from sitting or lying on a sidewalk. The ordinances are commonly seen as "anti-homeless" and also are often challenged as unconstitutional if they do not contain appropriate time, place and manner restrictions. Appropriate time, place and manner restrictions need to be articulated with specificity. For example, the City of Seattle has an ordinance that does not allow people to sit or lie on the sidewalks during the hours of 7:00a.m. through 9:00p.m. in specific areas defined in the ordinance Those specific areas are the "Downtown Zone" as described specifically through listing the boundary streets in the ordinance, and the "Neighborhood Commercial Zones" as specifically listed in the ordinance. The ordinance also lists a number of exceptions including medical emergencies, disability, parades or other events conducted on the sidewalk, and bus 200 South Third Street,2"d Fl. I Yakima,WA 98901 P:509.575.6030 I F:509.575.6160 19 Bob Harrison, City Manager July 2, 2021 Page 2 stops. The ordinance also requires that the person be notified by a law enforcement officer that the conduct is unlawful before a person can be cited with a crime. Similarly, the City of Spokane has an ordinance that prohibits sitting and lying on the sidewalks between 6:00a.m. and midnight in the downtown business zone (outlined specifically in the ordinance by a map. It also prohibits sitting on fixtures not meant for sitting, such as garbage cans, planters and bike racks during all hours of the day. Finally, it makes it unlawful to sit or lie in any entrance to or exit from a building, parking lot, or loading dock, presumably for public safety purposes, at any time of the day. Like Seattle's ordinance there are a number of exemptions such as medical emergency, disability, parades, bus stops, etc. It also states that there is an exception for anyone "who is homeless during a time frame when shelter space is unavailable." "It is the intent of the city council that homeless individual subject to enforcement under this section be directed to emergency shelters, community/drug/mental health court, or other interventional services." A law enforcement officer must notify a person of the violation and allow a reasonable amount of time to the person to comply with the section by getting up and moving. If the person fails to comply, or an officer sees them somewhere else again violating the ordinance they may be cited with a misdemeanor. Bellingham's ordinance is very similar to Spokane's, but prohibits sitting and lying in specific areas of the City between the hours of 7:00a.m. and 9:00p.m. The districts wherein the ordinance is effective are the central business district, as specifically outlined in the ordinance, and the Fairhaven business district, as specifically outlined in the ordinance. The ordinance also applies in any "shelter protection area" as adopted by ordinance. A shelter protection area was created in the one block radius around the Lighthouse Mission Ministries (one of Bellingham's largest homeless shelter) facility to address issues associated with the mission. It was requested by the mission for the safety of their residents and to address people who were hanging out around the mission preying on the people using the facility. See https,//www.westernfrontonline.com/article/2020/10/bellingham-city-council-passes-protection- zone/. Bellingham has exceptions for medical emergencies, disabilities, parades, and bus stops. Like Seattle and Spokane, a person must be notified they are violating the law by a law enforcement officer before they can be cited. In Bellingham, the first two violations are infractions subjecting the person to a fine (or if unable to pay the fine, community service). The third violation results in a misdemeanor crime. MRSC has additional examples here: https://mrsc.orq/Home/Explore-Topics/Planning/Homelessness/Regulation-of-Unauthorized- Campinq-Loiterinq.aspx 2. Ordinances that address the ability to feed people in public. Generally ordinances that deny groups the ability to feed homeless people on public property, such as in parks or in rights-of-way, are challenged based on freedom of expression and freedom of religion grounds. The City of Spokane has a park rule, codified by ordinance, that requires a group or person seeking to feed 15 or more people in a park to reserve park space. There is no cost to reserve the space, but the application requires the submission of a clean-up 20 Bob Harrison, City Manager July 2, 2021 Page 3 plan for garbage and the reservation holder can be held responsible for any costs incurred by the City for clean up due to the group. Based on caselaw research, however, such an ordinance would likely be subject to legal challenge, and groups and organizations would likely be able to continue to feed people in parks. Courts have found that expressive conduct, including sharing a meal or feeding a group of people, is protected by the First Amendment. Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 901 F.3d 1235, 1240 (11th Cir. 2018); citing Spence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405, 410-11, 94 S.Ct. 2727 (1974). In the Food Not Bombs case the city of Fort Lauderdale had a park rule that did not allow parks to be used for social service purposes, which included providing food, clothing, shelter or medical care to meet peoples' physical needs. Id. at 1239. The Food Not Bombs organization challenged this park rule as a violation of their free speech and free association rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Id. The 11th Circuit agreed, stating that the sharing of the meal with anyone who wished to attend, the fact that it was held at a public park near government buildings, and that the group displayed its banner and distributed literature about its organization proved that the group was engaging in expressive conduct, not a mere sharing of a meal with relatives. Id. at 1242. Additionally, the court stated: The record demonstrates without dispute that the treatment of the City's homeless population is an issue of concern in the community. The City itself admits that its elected officials held a public workshop on the Homeless Issue...and placed the agenda and minutes of that meeting in the ... record. ... We think that the local discussion regarding the City's treatment of the homeless is significant because it provides background for [Food Not Bombs] events, particularly in light of the undisputed fact that many of the participants are homeless. This background adds to the likelihood that the reasonable observer would understand that [the] food sharing sought to convey some message. Id. at 1242-43. The City has been wrestling with many issues associated with the homeless, with numerous complaints and comments from residents about their opinions. The City Council has also had a number of conversations about regulations, such as shopping carts, temporary homeless encampments, etc. Although there have been no discussions about food sharing, it is likely that if a ban on food sharing in parks were to be on the agenda, that advocates would start feeding the homeless in parks as expressive conduct, protected by the First Amendment. Based on the Food Not Bombs case, I would not advise the Council to pass such an ordinance based on the legal challenge and likely legal issues associated with limiting the ability of groups to feed people in public. 3. Begging ordinances Begging is constitutionally protected speech, and without threatening action or other criminal activity, cannot be regulated. See City of Lakewood v. Willis. 21 The skybridge that connects the Cascade and Senator Apartments is in the process of being removed as the result of an enforcement action by the Codes Division. On October 27th workers removed the exterior cladding, interior sheetrock and flooring, basically stripping the structure to the steel shell. Codes Division staff met with an engineer hired by the Cascade Apartments owner to determine a strategy to support the remaining fire escapes while the rest of the skybridge is being removed (currently, the skybridge supports the entire fire escape). Once the engineer provides the design (estimated to be around November 12`h), the Cascade owner's contractor will install the structural elements needed. Once those elements are in place,the remaining portions of the skybridge will be removed.The fire escapes on the Senator side are not required for their egress, so they will be removed with the skybridge. Distributed at th Meeting it / 2/ Redistricting and Downtown Public Safety - November 9th council meeting Kay Funk, MD Redistricting Racial segregation in Yakima is extreme. It is called "de-facto" because it is not formally sanctioned by law, and is probably closely tied to property values which are high further west, and decrease going east. It is distressing to me that in the four years that I have been on Council, we have made so little progress in promoting more "affordable housing" west of 16th Avenue. There are multiple challenges, but my observations have been that the Planning Department and the Planning Commission create more obstacles than they overcome. That is in contrast to the articulated policy of the City Council. It is not clear to me how the "citizens voting age population" (CVAP) can be accurately determined. Citizenship is not counted in the census. There were so many problems with the 2020 census that low income and otherwise marginalized populations are probably under-counted. Please tell me how these figures are determined. The CVAPs in the proposed District should be equal, but they are not. The greatest population is in District 6, and is 50% larger than the population in District 2. Is this by statute, or the Voting Rights court order? If not, why the large inequalities? I think that creating a north-south dividing line at or near 16th Avenue is a reasonable change to make those central districts more homogeneous within themselves. That doesn't overcome the problem of the unequal population in the proposed districts. Downtown Public Safety (unhoused persons) We have many unhoused people on the streets. It's not their preference. But if they have no more welcoming and convenient place to go, they will congregate downtown and the difficult individuals will continue to be difficult. The behavior of a person with no resources cannot be controlled by civil (monetary/property) penalties. Vehicles used for housing - Initiate Parking lots for Homestead Act Vehicles. (Seattle Approach) Preferable for the lot to have a secure perimeter and persons who repeatedly cause problems should be excluded. Sgt. Fowler should be able to use City funds or coupons, if that is effective. "The patrol officers...report a significant number of homeless do not want to stay at the Union Gospel Mission, Camp Hope or other temporary housing opportunities." A shelter protection area, as created in Bellingham is reasonable "A shelter protection area was created in the one block radius around the Lighthouse Mission Ministries(one of Bellingham's largest homeless shelter) facility to address issues associated with the mission. It was requested by the mission for the safety of their residents and to address people who were hanging out around the mission preying on the people using the facility". In the four years that I have been on Council, I have been distressed by our lack of progress in providing alternatives for unhoused persons on our streets. Specifically, we have no answer to this dilemma: "there has got to be something between a tent and a $300,000 apartment". The most basic need is safety and a defensible space for person and property. The cost escalates tremendously when providing plumbing and supervision. There are alternatives, and we have passed on multiple proposals: • In 2018, Transform Yakima had a plan to provide tiny homes (no plumbing) on church parking lots for approximately $2,000/unit. The planning department required sewer hookups, which increased the cost to $50,000/unit.Only 2 were built. Staff decision. • The city spent $238,000 of City's homeless funds to extend plumbing and electricity out to city-owned land just east of the old Kmart building. We then signed an agreement with the Greenway, which made that land unavailable for any housing other than bricks-and-mortar. Council decision promoted by staff. • The Justice Housing project, proposed tiny homes without plumbing. That was discouraged by staff; now they are planning tiny homes with plumbing, electricity, and air conditioning. The cost is probably in the $200,000+ range. Staff decision. • The Yakima County Commissioners proposed to create a low barrier shelter on the YCCC (Pacific Avenue Jail) property which, I believe, we had a tentative plan to rezone. Our own planning department told them that low-barrier shelters were not wanted by the neighbors. To my knowledge, no hearings of any kind were held. Staff decision. • The current YBOCC plan for the Pacific Ave Jail is office space for non-profit service providers. There will be no space for unhoused persons to sleep safely. There is no shortage of vacant office space in Yakima. YBOCC decision. • Another tiny homes project in Terrace Heights recently tanked because of resistance from neighbors. ("NIMBY") We can all dream of delux housing for ourselves an our vulnerable neighbors, but "if wishes were horses then beggars would ride."We need to deal with economic reality, and we have not been doing that. As long as we confine our planning to bricks-and-mortar units costing —$300,000/unit will not be able to provide an adequate number of units where unhoused people want to go. This is sad and wasteful.