Safe injection sites limited to King County cities that welcome them
Safe injection sites in King County will be located only cities that welcome them. That's the upshot of a vote by the King County Council this week.
King County lawmakers have tentative plans to open one safe consumption site in Seattle by next winter. After that, advocates want to open another in the county outside of Seattle.
There is concern among the King County Council though that not all of the region's cities will welcome one of the sites. Councilmember Claudia Balducci supports the sites but says her home city of Bellevue does not want to host one.
So this week the King County Council voted to fund safe injection sites only under one condition: The local city council must have voted in favor of having one.
Councilmember Dave Upthegrove supported that change and said it's important to get buy-in.
Upthegrove: "It's important to remember this has never been done in the United States. And I also think it would be very unsuccessful to site one in a community where the local government was not supportive."
The vote means that if the county wants to open a supervised injection site in Bellevue, Kent, or elsewhere, it needs that local government approval.
Meanwhile, opponents say the sites would essentially legalize heroin. They have launched an initiative campaign and are hoping to put the issue to a vote in November.