leaders from across Snohomish County officially launched the North County unit
of the Office of Neighborhoods and touted the recent passage of a county nuisance property ordinance at a press conference in the Lakewood/Smokey
Point area. The mayors and police chiefs
of Marysville and Arlington joined Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary and
Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring at the media event.
have learned very clearly that the traditional methods of arrest and
incarceration do not solve our homeless crisis,” said Sheriff Trenary. “We need
to hold drug dealers accountable, and we need to find treatment options for
addicts. These are not just law
enforcement problems. Responding to
these complex societal issues requires partnerships that make our communities
Trenary cited the success of the Office of Neighborhoods in Snohomish County, a
unit he launched in 2015. Based on
similar programs in other parts of the country, the concept is to create teams
of police and social workers who go to homeless encampments and nuisance
properties and provide direct outreach to those who struggle with addiction and
homelessness. This is the second time the unit has expanded since they added an
east county unit, in collaboration with the City of Monroe, in 2017. This latest agreement between the cities of
Marysville and Arlington with the County is the result of months of planning
Mayor Jon Nehring explained why this approach makes sense.
is a compassionate community. And, like many communities, we have a real problem
with drug-related crimes that is negatively impacting our collective quality of
life," Mayor Nehring said. "This is a good public investment in
turning people's lives around and helping them on a more successful, productive
path. For those unwilling to accept help, however, I want to make it very clear
that they will be dealt with through aggressive law enforcement as this
community will not tolerate criminal behavior."
Mayor Barbara Tolbert said, "I am encouraged to be working with the City
of Marysville and Snohomish County to offer a viable and compassionate
solution. Each of our jurisdictions could have independently developed programs
and services to address the issues of homelessness and addiction. Uniting our
services and efforts will provide real help to those who want to accept
2015, the Office of Neighborhoods has arranged for 222 chemical dependency
assessments for individuals, as well as secured 265 beds in detox centers and
224 beds in addiction treatment centers. They have helped secure housing for
more than 165 individuals. The team is comprised of one sergeant, six deputies
and police officers, and five law enforcement embedded social workers.
official launch of the new Office of Neighborhoods unit follows on the heels of
the Snohomish County Council’s unanimous vote yesterday in favor of a nuisance
property ordinance. The ordinance provides clear definitions as to what
constitutes a “nuisance” property and spells out the enforcement and penalties
those who violate the ordinance may face.
we are focused on helping those struggling with addiction, we will absolutely
not tolerate, and we certainly will not enable, a lifestyle of heroin and
opioid abuse, of committing property crimes, and of destroying neighborhoods in
our communities,” said Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring. “This
commitment to community safety is made clear by recent legislation that the
County Council has adopted, including the chronic nuisance ordinance and the
ban on heroin injection sites.”
county has been collaborating to tackle nuisance properties since 2013 after
the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force responded to numerous – and
similar – complaints in South Snohomish County including drug use and trafficking,
trespassing, prostitution, and theft .
By partnering with other public safety agencies, code enforcement,
health and human services, and fire inspectors, teams were able to provide
relief to neighborhoods overrun by squatters.
However, there were several gaps in the existing county code that made
enforcement on these properties lengthy and cumbersome.
new ordinance will give law enforcement better tools to more effectively and
efficiently address the nuisance homes and encampments that are bringing crime
and drugs into Snohomish County neighborhoods," said Sheriff Trenary. The
Task Force has opened more than 300 nuisance property investigations since