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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Council Roundup: Proposed law targets illegal drug activity

Also, SR 520 construction has begun

Council members on Monday indicated their interest in providing police with a new tool to combat what's an old problem in some cities: illegal drug sales on city property.

Bellevue Police proposed an ordinance that would make it a gross misdemeanor to loiter in public while showing an intent to engage in illegal, drug-related activity.

The new crime would be punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail. The ordinance is modeled after a Tacoma law, which was upheld by the state Supreme Court in 1992. Seattle and Yakima have similar laws on their books.  

Two Bellevue Police officers who patrol in the Crossroads area told council members of their frustration in watching known criminals hanging out on city sidewalks and apparently engaging in illegal activity, but not being able to arrest them because there is no direct evidence. The proposed ordinance would allow them to arrest such persons under a set of specific circumstances.

Council members expressed general support for the proposed ordinance, but did ask for statistics that demonstrate the need for such a law, and for more information about how effective similar laws are in other cities.
The council is expected to vote on the ordinance at its June 6 meeting. If approved, the new ordinance would become effective 30 days later.

Feedback: Kyle Aiken, Police Legal Advisor, 425-452-7826 or kaiken@bellevuewa.gov

SR 520 construction has begun; weekend closures ahead
The state Department of Transportation updated the council on the project to replace the State Route 520 bridge and improve high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the highway between Redmond and the bridge.

Construction on the Eastside began in late April with clearing of the areas on each side of the highway. Crews will close the bridge and highway between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and I-405 during the weekend of June 17-20 to construct fish passage culverts under the highway and remove the pedestrian overpass by Evergreen Point.

Major enhancements included in the Eastside Transit and HOV project include shifting the HOV lane in each direction from the outermost lane to the innermost one, with ramps and modifications to improve access. Elaborate "lids" featuring green space and walking trails will replace the overpasses at Evergreen Point Road, 84th and 92nd avenues. Other improvements will include a new direct-access ramp for carpools and transit at 108th Avenue Northeast, and a new Bellevue Way bridge over the freeway.

WSDOT staff anticipate a weekend closure of the 520 bridge each month through November for tasks including bridge demolition, culvert construction and girder setting. Tolling is now expected to start in June.

For more information, please contact Dan Galvin at dan.galvin@gcinc.com or call the WSDOT Construction Hotline at 425-998-5200. The SR 520 Program Info line is: 1-888-520-NEWS (6937).

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