Opponents of safe-injection sites say they have signatures to put ban on ballot

Opponents of safe-injection sites in King County say they will submit more than enough signatures to place their proposed ban on the November ballot.

Opponents of safe-injection sites in King County say they will submit more than enough signatures Monday to place an initiative banning the sites on the ballot.

Two sites that would allow the use of heroin and other drugs have been recommended by local officials including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Initiative 27 would ban public consumption of heroin and all federal Schedule I drugs except marijuana. (Public consumption of marijuana is already banned in Washington.)

The proposed initiative requires signatures from 47,443 valid county voters to qualify for the ballot.

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Backers of the initiative say they will turn in nearly 70,000 signatures to the King County Clerk on Monday.

When it might appear on the ballot is an open question. I-27 leaders prefer the November ballot, before a site opens. “We believe voters should have a say before we do that,” said Keith Schipper, a spokesman for the initiative.

But the Metropolitan King County Council could put the issue on the February ballot. “Our main concern with that is they shouldn’t open any sites while this big question lingers,” Schipper said.

To get I-27 on the Nov. 7 ballot, the council must direct elections officials to do so by 4:30 p.m. Aug. 1, according to a spokeswoman for the King County Elections.

The initiative campaign used paid gatherers to collect most of its signatures, Schipper said. A new political-action committee (PAC), Impaction, has raised $154,466 in contributions and spent most of that on the signature drive, he said.

I-27’s chief sponsor, Joshua Freed, a Bothell City Council member, has given the most — $40,000 — to Impaction. Other top donors include Ken Fisher and Clyde Holland. The two Southwest Washington businessmen and major GOP donors gave $25,000.

Schipper, former communications director for the Republican State Party, said I-27 is not a partisan effort.

A task force created by Murray and Constantine last year recommended creation of two safe-injection sites — one in Seattle and one in another area of King County. Murray and Constantine endorsed the panel’s recommendations.

Similar to a facility in Vancouver, B.C., Insite, that’s operated since 2003, the King…

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