SODA Ordinance back on the agenda

In December 2017, the City of Auburn developed Ordinance No. 6659. Frequently referred to as the SODA (Stay Out of Designated Area) Ordinance, this ordinance serves as a new tool related to enforcement of illegal drug-related activities. If attached to a defendant’s sentence a SODA Order would restrict the individual from outlined boundaries within the city.  Though expected to be passed in December, the ordinance was pulled from the agenda to address concerns associated with the boundaries of the original ordinance.  After six months, the SODA Ordinance is back on the agenda.

SODA Ordinance, SODA Order Areas, Stay Out Of Area Order,
Updated SODA Ordinance Boundaries

A New Tool for Law Enforcement

At the discretion of the Judge, a SODA Order can be attached to a defendant’s sentencing in the adjudication of a drug-related law. The SODA Ordinance would be an additional tool for Law Enforcement officials in anti-drug emphasis throughout the City of Auburn. Should the order be violated, it would be a gross misdemeanor.

This ordinance is not unique to Auburn. The original ordinance was modeled after similar ordinances throughout the regions, including those in Tacoma, Lakewood, and Everett. The assessment from prosecutors Auburn staff inquired to indicated “this is a valuable tool for the police, prosecutors, and courts to address recurring illegal drug activities in certain areas.”

Acknowledging illegal drug-related activities are felt more in some neighborhoods than others APD officers worked with Auburn community development, code enforcement, Auburn’s legal department and other law enforcement agencies to discern the most impactful boundaries for the ordinance. According to the legislative write-up, “the police have identified certain areas in the city where the [illegal drug-related activities] impacts are more serious and where the neighborhoods are more deserving of illegal drug enforcement energies.”

Addressing Boundary Concerns

Though a revised version of the ordinance had been created to address concerns raised in December, it was still ultimately pulled from the agenda. This was done to allow the city to continue to work with community members to fine-tune boundaries specified in the SODA ordinance.

The original SODA Ordinance boundaries included some territory within the boundaries of the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation. The Tribe raised concerns as to how this may impact its members. Additionally, as the Tribe has some court facilities that address issues related to its members, the ordinance caused question as to which jurisdictional courts would be included.

According to Auburn City Attorney Dan Heid, “the city still has some meetings scheduled with the Tribe which will be targeting strategies to address these issues in the future. But in the meantime, in the other areas of the City that are targeted by the Ordinance, it was thought to be valuable for the city to move forward. Depending upon what resolution comes to the issues identified by the Tribe, the tribal areas could always be added into the ordinance down the road.”

Stay Out of Designated Areas

Auburn Train Station, Sounder Station, Auburn Sounder Station, Auburn Transit Center, City of AuburnSODA locations will not be designated by signs at or within their areas, as notifying the individual at the time the court order is issued will be legally sufficient.  The current SODA locations are the downtown area, the Outlet Collection, all city parks and park property, the south end, the Interurban Trail, the White River Trail, the Lakeland Linear Trail, the Reddington Levee Trail and the C Street Trail.  Full boundaries of these areas are outlined within the language of the ordinance.

When presenting to the city council at June 11, 2018 study session, Heid explained that the ordinance’s effect will be continually evaluated. He expects that the ordinance will return to the council with revisions, adding further SODA boundaries.

The ordinance is expected to go before the city council at the June 18, 2018 meeting. It is anticipated to pass with the current revisions.

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