King County Council adopts fines for public urination, but in rural areas only
On Oct. 14 the Metropolitan King County Council adopted an ordinance “establishing rules about urinating and defecating in public within unincorporated rural King County,” according to a press release.
The legislation would make doing one’s business out in the open a Class 2 Infraction with fines up to $125.
The ordinance makes a clear distinction in its application, however, stating it only applies to rural unincorporated areas. That means urban unincorporated areas such as North Highline and White Center are not impacted.
Anne Burkland, communications director for Councilmember Joe McDermott (representing White Center), said urban unincorporated areas were kept out of the language to prevent homeless residents from being disproportionately targeted.
“I believe that this bill is a very common-sense solution to an issue that has been challenging the communities in King County’s unincorporated areas,” the ordinance sponsor Councilmember Kathy Lambert said in a written statement. “It is an additional tool that the King County Sheriff’s Office can use to encourage people to modify their behavior. I introduced this legislation after hearing from many concerned citizens and I’m very pleased that the Council has taken seriously its responsibility to govern in the unincorporated areas.”
According to Real Change, the city of Seattle has a maximum penalty of $125 as well, “but most people are fined $27.”