Everett May Partner With Church For Safe Parking Program For RVs, Car Campers

July 3, 2018

Everett Government


Members of the Everett Police COET team speak with a man outside of a motorhome on 100th street SW on June 2nd.

There is no set time line but the City of Everett is exploring partnering with a church or faith-based organization for a place where people could live in their cars or RVs without worrying about having them towed away.

My EverettNews.com checked in with City of Everett Executive Director Meghan Pembroke after hearing the city was considering the idea of a safe place for people living in RVs and their cars. Here is her email response:

“Later this year, we plan to provide funding to a faith-based organization (to be identified through an RFP process) interested in operating a pilot safe parking program. We will work with the selected organization to ensure that they use best practices for operating safe parking so the program is successful for the participants, the church and the community. The RFP has not been developed at this time, and we do not have a specific timeline for that effort.”

People living in their vehicles parked on City of Everett streets have presented challenges for neighborhoods, police officers and at times even themselves. When police impound a motorhome where people had been living the people are still likely out on the street, in the neighborhood but no longer in any shelter.

Back in April MyEverettNews.com submitted questions about people living in vehicles to Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman following some citizens bringing up the issue at a city council meeting. We received the following response.

1) Are Everett Police limited in contacts with people living in non-operable vehicles on city streets?

In March 2018, a King County Superior Court judge ruled that the City of Seattle’s impoundment of a vehicle in which someone had been living violated the 8th Amendment Excessive Fines Clause and the state’s homestead act. As a result of this ruling, the Everett Prosecutor’s Office continues to review the case and has advised the Everett Department to exercise due diligence when responding to reports of abandoned vehicles or complaints in which officers verify that an occupant is indeed living inside the vehicle. Officers will work with the vehicle occupants to offer services and assist them in moving their vehicles. If those efforts fail and the vehicle continues to negatively impact the neighborhood, impoundment of the vehicle still remains an option. If there is criminal activity associated with people living in their vehicles, Everett Police will still investigate and take enforcement action if officers develop probable cause for an arrest.

2) Are people being told not to call again once a car has been contacted by police?

No, residents may call our Parking Enforcement Office at (425) 257-8437 (North of 41st) or (425) 257-7505 (South of 41st), the Snohomish County 911 non-emergency line at (425) 407-3999, or 911 to report suspected criminal activity. An Everett police officer or parking enforcement officer will respond and evaluate the situation and take action, as necessary and authorized by law.

3) In this case the police administration tasked an officer with contacting the car immediately after a public complaint to the city council. Is that the preferred method for people to take once they feel they aren’t being heard through the regular channels? It worked for these ladies.

Residents are welcome to address City Council with any concerns they have, but the preferred method for reporting parking violations and suspected drug use is to work through the Police Department’s Patrol division by calling 911, or Parking Enforcement at the numbers listed above. Community members may also elevate their concerns to a supervisor within the police department if they are not satisfied with the initial police response.

4) What do you want people to know about what they can do in such situations?

These are obviously very complicated cases. Law enforcement response is not only dictated by federal, state and local law, but also current case law and the condition of the individual(s) contacted. Oftentimes officers encounter subjects suffering from mental health or addiction issues, which only increases the complexity of the situation. The City and police department clearly understand the concerns of residents whose quality of life is negatively impacted by people living in vehicles and motorhomes in their neighborhoods. We encourage residents to report such situations to police in the manner described above and to allow our patrol officers, parking enforcement officers, social workers and community outreach and enforcement officers to work with these individuals in order to develop a solution that not only works for the neighborhood, but also for those living in their vehicles.

Thanks to Chief Templeman for providing the answers during that conversation in April.

The amount of public notice the city gives to people living in any neighborhood being considered for such an encampment is obviously a concern. Another factor is the cost of providing security, restroom facilities, trash removal and other items needed especially as the city struggles to find ways to cut spending and increase revenues while facing an ongoing budget deficit.

Again according to Meghan Pembroke with the city this is something in the very early discussion stage. We’ll keep an eye out for the city’s Request For Proposal and pass that along once it has been issued.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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