Everett council approves expanded drug enforcement areas

EVERETT — The Everett City Council has approved a measure that expands its Stay Out of Drug Areas ordinance to include more parts of the city.

The ordinance allows a municipal court judge to prohibit someone convicted of drug-related crimes from entering specific areas known to be drug markets. Those people under a SODA order as a condition of a suspended sentence, for example, face arrest if they violate the ban.

The move comes on the heels of a report that details how opioid abuse continues to ravage Snohomish County, with 245 overdoses treated in the first three months of this year.

The council also approved a measure that adds new crimes to those a judge can cite to support a SODA order, such as loitering for the purposes of engaging in drug-related activity.

Both measures passed 5-0 on Wednesday, with two council members absent.

Police are required to review the SODA ordinance every two years and propose changes based on concentrations of drug crimes.

Based on data gathered over the past eight months, the police recommended adding two new zones: a 44-block area in north Everett that includes Clark Park and Everett High School, and the length of Everett Mall Way from Highway 526 to Evergreen Way.

Other SODA areas include much of Broadway north of 41st Street, Hewitt Avenue from the 1000 block to the 3200 block, Rucker Avenue/Evergreen Way from the 4000 block to the south city line, West Casino Road between Evergreen Way and Airport Road, and Smith Avenue from the 3100 block to the 4000 block.

Everett Police Sgt. Jeff Hendrickson told council members earlier that none of the areas had seen enough of a decline in drug-related arrests to warrant removing them from the list.

The Smith Avenue area includes both Everett Station and the Everett Gospel Mission, and experienced the highest number of drug-related arrests in the city during the past eight months.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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