S. Runyan, I worked. I retired. I expected to read books, go for walks, and grow old. I am succeeding at the last. But, there is still work to be done. I love my country, warts and all.
Runyan, January 2020
Sequim Hearing Examiner, Phil Olbrechts, stated that pertinent evidence for the proposed MAT clinic impacts are mostly taken from presentations by Sequim Police Chief Crain and SaveOurSequim.org’s facebook member, Wendy Goldberg, M. S. in an appeal, filed by Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. This appeal challenged the MDNS (mitigated determination of non-significance) as imposing more conditions than necessary or lawful for mitigating MAT impacts. After the filing of the appeal, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and the City of Sequim reached an Agreement with less onerous conditions. The central focus of this appeal is to determine if project impacts exist and is the Settlement Agreement with the City of Sequim adequate to mitigate those impacts.
The following, until you get to “My “Conclusion” is taken from a public document titled “FINDINGS of FACT, Conclusions of Law and Final Decision”, on sequimwa.gov MAT appeals, or on the
SaveOurSequim.org site. The document is 39 pages long and well worth reading in its entirety. SaveOurSequim.org, a group
that quickly formed to oppose the MAT facility, is not a party in this appeal. However, the Sequim Hearing Examiner decided to allow comments from the
public. Compiled here are excerpts from presentations by Wendy Goldberg, M.S. and Sequim Police Chief Crain.
“This is the Final Decision on five consolidated appeals challenging permits
approved and State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”) review for a medication-assisted treatment clinic (“MAT clinic). Four of the five appeals were dismissed by interlocutory order on October 8, 2020 due to lack of standing. The remaining appeal, addressed by this Final Decision, was filed by the Tribe and challenges the MDNS as imposing more conditions than necessary or lawful for mitigating MAT impacts. Since filing its appeal, the Tribe and City entered into a Stipulated Agreement that resolved the differences between City and Tribe by agreement upon less onerous conditions. The central focus of this appeal has been whether the MDNS conditions were necessary to mitigate project impacts and, if such impacts do exist, whether the MDNS conditions as revised by the Settlement Agreement adequately mitigated those impacts.
Evidence pertinent to clinic impacts were almost entirely presented by Sequim Police Chief Crain on behalf of the City and Wendy Goldberg on behalf of project opponents (SaveOurSequim.org and others, my add.). A balanced and thorough analysis of project impacts would not have been possible without the exemplary efforts of both individuals. However, through extensive internet research Ms. Goldberg was able to demonstrate that public concern over MAT clinics in general are not based upon remote or speculative impacts. Ms. Goldberg was able to give examples of MAT clinics throughout the country that have generated a surrounding “crime culture” of illegal drug activity, loitering, littering and other petty, nonviolent crime.
In contrast to Ms. Goldberg’s efforts to find negative materials on MAT clinics, Chief Crain took a more balanced approach. Chief Crain did not go out looking for positive or negative information on MAT clinics. (The purpose of Ms. Goldberg’s research was to prove that our fears for our community is founded in fact. my add.) Rather, she selected five of what she believed to be comparable rural cities in Washington in addition to the MAT clinic currently operated by the Tribe in Sequim to assess MAT clinic impacts. She interviewed the police chiefs from each of the five cities in addition to other persons involved with the clinics and found unanimous consent amongst the police chiefs and all of her other witnesses that MAT clinics did not generate any increases in crime in their respective communities. She also reported that three of the chiefs told her that the MAT clinics of their communities did not increase the local homeless population. Chief Crain did not identify whether she had spoken to the other two chiefs about this issue.
The focus in this Decision upon the evidence presented by Wendy Goldberg and Chief Crain is not intended to discount the importance of the testimony from Tribal witnesses, in particular Mr. Simcosky and Dr. Cunningham. Mr. Simcosky and Dr. Cunningham presented valuable insight as to the operations of the proposed clinic and the efforts of the Tribe to minimize impacts to the community. Mr. Simcosky and Dr. Cunningham succeeded in instilling a high degree of confidence that the clinic would be well run in a manner sensitive to community impacts. As outlined in this Decision, how a clinic is run is one of the most important factors in what impacts it has on a community.
For anyone who sat through the five days of hearings, it should be apparent that the Tribe does not intend on cramming as many patients as it can into its facility to make as much money as it can with complete disregard to impacts on the Sequim community. The Tribe’s existing drug treatment facility on 5th avenue is an example of a well-run clinic. It has not generated any significant new calls for service or any discernible increases homeless population, nuisance or “crime culture” associated with more poorly run facilities in other parts of the country. However, there are no guarantees that individuals of the same caliber and community sensitivity as Mr. Simcosky and Dr. Cunningham will always be running the clinic. The testimony presented by Ms. Goldberg and Chief Crain was most pertinent to what impacts can be expected of the proposed MAT clinic regardless of who runs it.
Although the Tribe has made a convincing case that it will act responsibly and will work with the Sequim community to mitigate impacts, there are too many unknowns associated with locating a MAT clinic at its proposed location to confidently conclude that the Stipulated Agreement as presented will effectively mitigate all impacts. The proposed MAT clinic is not a large facility when compared to other facilities throughout the nation, but it is large for Sequim and for that reason could disproportionately impact police and emergency services.
The potential disproportionate impacts are evident from the statistics provided by Chief Crain and Ms. Goldberg. As testified by Chief Crain, she expects about 3-5% of the Sequim population to “cause problems,” which for Sequim’s 7,500 population translates to approximately 225-375 people. She also testified that Sequim has a homeless population of 15-30 people. According to studies presented by Ms. Goldberg, of the projected 250 yearly patients for the proposed MAT clinic, 13% will have some involvement with criminal justice and approximately half will be “housing insecure” during treatment. Further, Goldberg statistics also show that 7 of 8 MAT patients have opioids in their systems within three months of completing treatment.
If just a small percentage of the proposed clinic’s 250 patients per year decide to make Sequim their home, the numbers of persons engaged in crime and the total number of homeless can increase substantially over time over Sequim’s modest baseline conditions. In contrast, the cities used for comparison purposes by Chief Crain are significantly larger and proportionate impacts to baseline conditions presumably significantly less. Also of significance is the fact that unlike the Anacortes facility and potentially other cities studied by Chief Crain, the proposed MAT facility is fairly close to downtown Sequim, making the surrounding area a more attractive place to loiter and create the “crime culture” that the Goldberg materials reveal is at least sometimes instigated by MAT clinics. . . .
The SEPA rules require a “worst case” analysis if project impacts do not qualify as remote or speculative and there is insufficient information to accurately make choices between alternatives. In this case the choice of alternatives involves selecting amongst potential mitigation measures or requiring an environmental impact statement. There is insufficient information in the record on how many patients, if any, can be expected to contribute to police and medical service demand in the Sequim community. It is difficult to even speculate at what a worst case scenario would be for Sequim. Even if just a third of the “housing insecure” decide to move to Sequim from a patient load of 250 patients (which would be 40 patients) and 13% are engaged with the criminal justice system, that likely would add to both police demand and homeless populations over time, which in turn under the substantial weight that must be accorded to the MDNS would likely create a significant increase in demand upon other emergency services. (see page 4)
Rather than attempt to engage in an arbitrary worst case analysis, a more precise and effective solution would be to simply adopt an enforceable monitoring plan of the type that was originally contemplated in the MDNS. With the right of administrative appeal added to that condition, the Tribe would be assured that any additional mitigation would directly and proportionately address the impacts of the proposal in a manner that is consistent with its statutory and constitutional property rights and the anti-discrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That is how this Decision resolves the Tribe’s appeal. (More on the monitoring plan at the end of article. Italics are mine.)
The Goldberg comments were accepted after the deadline. Ms. Goldberg had originally submitted her comments on time as an expert witness, agreeing to be subject to cross-examination. Her written comments were a mix of internet research and expert opinion based upon that research. Ms. Goldberg subsequently decided she did not want to be subject to cross-examination. When she changed her mind and chose to not present as an expert, she was allowed to present her written materials with her expert opinion redacted.
B. Police Impacts Not Remote or Speculative. As a preliminary matter, it is determined that demand upon police services is associated with MAT clinics in general, and hence potential impacts to those services by the proposal do not qualify as remote or speculative. Wendy Goldberg, Ex. 5, provided the most compelling and arguably only credible evidence in the record on the existence of criminal and nuisance impacts associated with MAT clinics. She identified numerous newspaper articles, studies and some City Council minutes8 evidencing these types of impacts in other communities. (see page 13)
1. Impacts on Cities.
Ms. Goldberg’s materials show a significant impact on police services in a number of cities. Her most pertinent articles are summarized below:
a. Shoreline, WA. Ms. Goldberg presented city council minutes dated January 27, 2014 from Shoreline, Washington, where Shoreline police reported to the City Council that a methadone clinic in Shoreline had instigated a number of complaints from business owners, homeowners other citizens who did not feel safe in the area. A police detective played video case studies for the Council that showed illegal activity. He noted that many of those involved in the activity did not reside in Shoreline or north Seattle. He further reported that clinic patrons were linked to criminal activity such as larcenies, vandalism, and auto theft9. (see page 13, 14)
b. Baltimore, MD. A member of a Baltimore citizen’s task force studying the impacts of an oversaturation of MAT clinics in her community wrote a piece in the Baltimore Post Examiner as follows:
…the correlation is conclusively high between high treatment density and an after-treatment open air drug market surrounding the clinics’ OTP’s [Opioid Treatment Programs]. …over 90 percent of the drug arrests in the CVCBD (Charles Village Community Benefits District) area originated near the OTPs. What’s more, only 20 percent of those arrestees lived within the 21218 zip code. This is further proof that individuals are coming to an area of OTP saturation to buy and sell drugs.10
c. Phoenix, AZ. According to an article in the North Central News, which appears to be a newspaper for the “north central Phoenix community,” the opening of a new MAT clinic in Phoenix, Arizona created a “huge influx of new clients” that “not only overwhelmed the clinic but impacted the adjacent neighborhood as well.” The article noted that a task force was formed to address the impacts of the clinic, which included
“[c]omplaints of loitering, trash, people dealing drugs on their property, Veyo drivers using other businesses’ parking lots, jaywalking, and more. But it’s the flow of patients that begins at 4:30 a.m. that had grown to a breaking point for the clinic and the adjacent community.” One nearby business owner was quoted as saying that “I’ve watched my community turn into a cesspool of addicts, crime, halfway houses, and prostitution…. I know firsthand that crime has increased, as I witness it daily. I don’t want any of your clinics in my neighborhood.” 11
d. New York, NY. Another webpage from a site called “dnainfo” stated in an article for its New York edition that the patients of a relocated methadone clinic to Queens, New York “often litter the sidewalk, behave in a noisy way, argue, and hang out for hours in front of local businesses and at nearby Major Mark Park intimidating residents.” An owner of a nearby White Castle restaurant, complaining about the clinic at a community council meeting, stated that the clinic had been creating severe problems, including the sale of pills in the area. A deli clerk noted that patrons were hanging out in his deli and stealing candy. The commanding officer of the local precinct testified that prescription drugs “seem” to be sold illegally in the area, but there hadn’t been a large increase in measurable crime, such as robbery, grand larceny or car break-ins. 12
e. Unspecified Location. Author Rachel Greene Baldino, MSW, in her 2001 book “Welcome to Methadonia: A Social Worker’s Candid Account of Life In A Methadone Clinic,” gives an insiders perspective on what occurs in methadone clinics:
Methadone advocates argue that methadone cuts down on heroin related crime, and this may be true. From what I observed in my year at a methadone clinic, however, a whole crime culture blossoms around methadone clinics, a culture founded upon the illegal sale of take-home doses, urine samples, pills, cocaine, marijuana and of course, heroin. But it should come as no surprise that drug dealers flock to the areas around methadone clinics; they understand only too well that they have a built-in customer base in these neighborhoods. . .. Methadone clinics often serve as centralized locations for addicts to get together to deal drugs, get high, turn tricks, buy and sell take home doses and clean urine samples, and the like. As I already pointed out, methadone clients are nothing if not entrepreneurial. Clearly, not all methadone patients stop engaging in addictive and criminal behavior just because they are in treatment, in part because they trigger one another to continue abusing drugs. In addition, some clients pick up more drug habits at methadone clinics than they had before entering treatment. I have often wondered what the policymakers who created methadone clinics could have been thinking when they decided to assemble hundreds of addicts in a central location. f. Boston, MA. A 2007 article about a methadone clinic in Boston, MA noted that since a methadone clinic opened across from a city park, people started using the children’s wading pool to wash their laundry.13 g. Seattle, WA. A KOMO news webpage quoted a MAT clinic patient and resident of Seattle’s longest running homeless camp that “[t]his is a convenient place because the little local methadone clinic Evergreen is why we are at this particular location,”14 (see page 13 – 16) (Footnotes for Ms. Goldberg starting Page 13 – 16) 8 Ms. Goldberg’s materials also included some quotes of a City of Forks police chief who had some strong opinions about the criminality and homelessness attracted to MAT clinics. However, the chief was not present for cross-examination and there was insufficient foundation to evaluate the relevancy of his claims. Most important, it’s unknown whether Forks even has a MAT clinic within its jurisdiction, or whether the police chiefs’ comments were based upon his experience as a narcotics officer in other jurisdictions. Ms. Goldberg’s submission of what appears to be a blog entry from Adam Rasmussen, an engineering technician and “non-aspiring musician” is equally unavailing, as Mr. Rasmussen attributes the closing of businesses (acknowledging “perhaps indirectly, but there’s no denying it’s a factor”) and other fairly speculative conclusions drawn from his patronage of a drug treatment clinic in Oshawa, Ontario. Since the Forks and Rasmussen had little probative value, they were not included in the summary of Ms. Goldberg’s materials. 9 City of Shoreline, Shoreline City Council Summary Minutes of Special Meeting Monday, January 27, 2014. 10 Opioid Treatment: Research shows saturation of treatment centers increases crime, by Robert Emmet Mara, Baltimore Post Examiner, February 25, 2015 11 Can a methadone clinic benefit a community?, North Central News, Phoenix, AZ, September 2018, http://northcentralnews.net/2018/features/sunnyslope-methadone-clinic/? fbclid=IwAR00vW1jrHhS- OjcRNPnqfJyJV6cyqhtMCZn6njOkiBEj1jQjvy65W-KnsA. 12 Methadone Clinic Makes Jamaica Corner ‘Very Sketchy,’ Locals Say, Ewa Kern Jedrychowska | May 9, 2017, https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170509/jamaica/ methadone-clinic-175-20-hillside-ave-joe- moretti-clean-up-jamaica-queens-103rd-precinct 13 Corktown: The panic in needle park, by Melissa Whetsone, March 17, 2007, Boston Globe and Mail; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/corktown-the-panic-in-needlepark/article681351/ 14 https://komonews.com/news/local/woman-her-4-kids-among-those-forced-out-jose (end of Footnotes for Wendy Goldberg) 2. Conclusions on Goldberg Materials. Ms. Goldberg’s analysis hardly meets the rigor or detail of a sociological study analyzing the effects of MAT clinics on communities. However, her materials are sufficient to show that concerns over impacts to police services are not remote or speculative. As is clear from the materials about MAT clinics in the five cities above, there is some crime associated with MAT clinics. As detailed in the Rachel Baldino book, methadone clinics can serve as the locale for instigation of a “crime culture.” Drug dealing appears to have been prevalent in many of the cities identified in the Goldberg materials, as is loitering, littering and some prostitution. Only one community, Shoreline, identified any linkage to more serious crimes such as vandalism and auto theft, while in Phoenix the police commander noted there “seems” to be drug activity going on but not any measurable in increase in other types of crimes. Experiences in Seattle and Boston suggest that MAT clinics may attract the homeless into nearby areas, which in turn could also result in more crime. The crime associated with MAT clinics in the Goldberg materials is consistent with the individual crime statistics associated with MAT patrons. The evidence is very compelling that patrons of MAT clinics engage in a high frequency of criminal conduct. . . . . Although crime and other nuisance activities are undeniably associated with at least some types of drug treatment clinics, the Goldberg materials do not conclusively establish on their own that such impacts are likely to occur for the proposed MAT clinic. (see page 16 – 18) – C. Chief Crain Analysis Largely Supports Her Conclusion that the Proposal will Have Negligible Impacts on Police Services. Chief Crain conducted an exemplary investigation of MAT clinics in comparable Washington State cities to reach the conclusion that the proposed MAT clinic’s impacts to Sequim police services would be “negligible.” Chief Crane’s investigation was based upon interviews with police chiefs and others working in six rural communities similar to Sequim that had MAT clinics. She assessed the impacts of the clinic currently operated by the Tribe in Sequim and clinics in Anacortes, Kelso, Hoquiam, Arlington, and East Wenatchee. Chief Crain interviewed the police chiefs of each of these communities to inquire about impacts on police services. Chief Crane focused special attention on the Anacortes facility, run by the Swinomish Tribe, because its clinic is very similar to the clinic under appeal. The Tribe’s proposed floor plans and operational plan provide for similar security, similar process flow of patients and similar interior accommodations to that of the Anacortes facility. She also interviewed the Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) to discuss the Anacortes clinic and also interviewed the Anacortes police department’s imbedded social worker. Chief Crain also did a site visit to the Anacortes facility. Significantly, none of the police chiefs from any of the communities investigated by Chief Crain found any appreciable increase in criminal activity. From her own department, Chief Crain found that calls for service from the existing Tribe’s facility on 5th Avenue only increased from a yearly average of 23 calls since it was constructed in 2010 to 25 calls once the clinic started providing opioid treatment in 2017. It’s unknown if the total number of patients accessing the clinic increased as a result of the added opioid treatment program. From her discussions with the SAMSHA Regional Administrator, Chief Crain learned that what distinguishes a MAT clinic with negative impacts to those that do not is good site location, good building and site, the development of good relationships with neighbors and a good model of implementation.
The Chief’s findings are supported by a study conducted on violent crime impacts of MAT clinics in Baltimore, Maryland. The study used 2011 crime statistics for the 78 publicly funded drug treatment centers in the Baltimore. See Tribe Ex. 14.18 The study found that there was more violent crime committed in proximity to liquor and corner stores and about the same amount of violent crime in proximity to convenience stores. (see page 18 – 19) D. Crain, Goldberg and Baltimore Violence Study Establish No Violent Criminal Conduct but Are Incomplete on Nonviolent Crime. Overall, the Crain analysis is significantly more compelling than the Goldberg materials. The evidence is fairly clear that the proposal will not result in any increase in violent crime. However, there is insufficient information to assess whether the MAT clinic will create a significant increase in nonviolent crime associated with the “crime culture” referenced in the Rachel Greene Baldino book (see Finding of Fact No. 5B1e). Whereas Ms. Goldberg likely sought out all the negative materials she could find for instances extending back to 2007 throughout the county, Chief Crain selected her MAT cities based upon similarity to Sequim and then investigated whether the MAT clinics created any police service impacts. Chief Crain had no reason to skew her results in any particular direction. Indeed, if she were, one would expect that it would be to exaggerate public safety impacts, so that she could secure funding or other mitigation for her department. Significantly, many of the Goldberg materials were based upon highly urbanized areas where MAT clinics could be inundated with patients. The cities selected by Chief Crain, by contrast were in comparable rural areas where many patrons had to drive or be transported in from other areas. The Goldberg materials also fail to differentiate between dose and go facilities on the one hand and wrap around care facilities with self-referred patients and patient contracts on the other. Chief Crain opined that there very different operational impacts between these two types of facilities. The record is fairly conclusive that the proposal will not result in any material increases in violent crime. The unanimous findings of the six police chiefs to all six communities investigated by Chief Crain, in addition to Chief Crain’s own findings for the Tribe’s 5th Avenue facility, were that there were negligible impacts to police services. The Baltimore violent crime study, Tribe Ex. 14, is the only rigorous sociological study submitted into the record that directly addresses community impacts of MAT clinics and its statistical analysis leaves little doubt that MAT clinics do not generate material increases in violent crime. Although the Crain analysis and Baltimore violent crime study establish nominal increases in violent crime, the Goldberg materials still leave open the issue of nonviolent crime associated with so-called crime cultures created by MAT clinics. For the most part the Goldberg materials identifying nonviolent crime cultures associated with MAT clinics is fairly compelling. As identified in her statistics, a numerically significant number of MAT patrons are still using illegal drugs while undergoing treatment. The Rachel Greene Baldino book she cites provides a compelling argument that drug dealers are attracted to these concentrations of recovering addicts for that very reason. From this evidence it appears that the “crime culture” referenced by Ms. Baldino can develop if site conditions and clinic operations facilitate that type of development. This observation is consistent with the comments of the SAMHSA administrator, who as noted previously told Chief Crain that the difference between a clinic associated with problems and one that does not include site location. The impacts of site location remain a large unanswered question in the analysis prepared by Chief Crane. As pointed out by Mr. Spence during the hearing, favorable comparisons to the Anacortes facility are not merited because the Anacortes facility is three miles from downtown Anacortes. Under these circumstances it would be difficult for MAT patrons to loiter about the Anacortes facility, because there isn’t anything else within walking distance to support that activity, such as public restrooms, convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants. The Crain analysis also didn’t identify the location characteristics of the other MAT clinics, so it’s not possible to ascertain whether those clinics are also isolated in a similar fashion to the Anacortes facility, which logically would have a large impact on whether a drug culture arising from loitering activity would be reasonably likely to occur. The climate and isolation of Sequim may also be features that attract a disproportionate share of MAT patients to make Sequim their home. . . .The convenience of living close to a MAT clinic was evidenced by a quote from a KOMO webpage news story in the Goldberg materials, where a resident Seattle’s longest running homeless encampment was quoted as stating that “[t]his is a convenient place because the little local methadone clinic Evergreen is why we are at this particular location”. The Goldberg materials on this subject are again eclipsed somewhat by the more project specific analysis of Chief Crain. In her interviews of the police chiefs of comparable cities, she reported on asking three of them, Hoquiam, Anacortes and Arlington, if the chiefs had seen any increases in homelessness as a result of their MAT clinics. All responded they had not. However, at the same time, as noted in a Goldberg newspaper article, the Anacortes facility provides tents, sleeping bags and hygiene kits to their patients, because half of the 229 patients are homeless.20 The tribe operating that facility is now planning to build an affordable housing complex. The public safety impacts of any transfers in residency may be further impacted by the high recidivism rate of MAT clinic patients. A clinical study of 516 suboxone patients (the drug of the MAT clinic under appeal) found that after three months of completion of treatment, only 1 in 8 participants were opioid free.21 The statistics above are further exacerbated by the modest size of the Sequim community, which amplifies any impacts created by the clinic. Chief Crain testified testimony that the homeless population in Sequim is a stable 15-30 people with some being resident and others transient. If half of the projected 250 patients projected for the proposed MAT clinic are housing insecure as found in the DSHS study and just 10% of those patients decide to move to Sequim, the homeless population could expand several fold over several years of accumulated treatments. Given the statistics above, Chief Crain’s conversations about increases in homelessness with three police chiefs and increases in crime with six is not enough to overcome the substantial weight due to the responsible official’s determination in his MDNS that the proposed clinic will create probable significant adverse impacts to police services and that an enforceable monitoring program is necessary to fully mitigate impacts. Even with the mitigation of the stipulated settlement agreement, the location, isolation and placement of such a facility of this size in such a small community cannot confidently lead to the conclusion that all impacts are adequately addressed. (see page 18 – 23) E. The Proposed MAT Clinic will not Create Probable Significant Adverse Police Service Impacts with Monitoring as Originally Required in the MDNS. As proposed, the project will create probable significant adverse impacts due to the potential of creating a “crime culture” in the surrounding area. These impacts can be fully mitigated with re-imposition of the monitoring program initially required in the MDNS. With this monitoring plan, the proposal will create no significant adverse impacts to police services. The only pertinent evidence on project impacts submitted into the record was the analysis provided by Ms. Goldberg and Chief Crain. As outlined in Finding of Fact No. 5D above, there is insufficient information in the record to assess whether the MAT clinic will instigate a crime culture in the area surrounding the clinic. As noted in Conclusion of Law No. 7, in the face of incomplete information, environmental documents must employ a worst-case scenario to address impacts. The worst-case scenario for the proposed MAT clinic is that in the absence of any limitations on number of patients treated, the MAT clinic will attract large numbers of patients, some of whom on a cumulative basis will transfer residency to Sequim. Given the small size of the Sequim community, increases in the homeless population and others attracted to the surrounding “criminal culture” identified in the Rachel Greene Baldino book could be material. The proximity of the proposed MAT clinic to the downtown Sequim area coupled with its rain shadow location could incentivize patients to loiter in the surrounding area. The resulting crime culture in turn, could lead to a high demand on police services. (see page 23) (Footnotes Chief Crain) 18 C.D. Furr-Holden et al., Not In My Back Yard: A Comparative Analysis Of Crime Around Publicly Funded Drug Treatment Centers, Liquor Stores, Convenience Stores, And Corner Stores In One Mid- Atlantic City, 77 J Stud Alcohol Drugs 17-24 (2016).19 Washington State Medication Assisted Treatment – Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction Project; Preliminary Outcomes through Year Two, p. 7; https://www.dshs.wa.gov/sites/default/files/rda/reports. (End of Footnotes Chief Crain, see page 19, 21) Ultimately, an enforceable monitoring plan should successfully mitigate all impacts to nonpolice emergency services. The monitoring program adopted by this Decision creates a “wait and see” mitigation strategy that enables the City to identify precisely what impacts do occur and then tailoring the mitigation necessary to address them. . . . (see page 27) As noted in the findings of fact, Sequim is a small community with a corresponding small homeless population. In a worst-case analysis, bringing in a MAT clinic that serves two counties, the impacts of the introduction of 125 homeless/housing insecure recovering and partially recovering drug addicts could still create significant impacts upon police and emergency services, even with the conditions of the Stipulated Agreement. The impacts are simply too unpredictable given Sequim’s circumstances to be able to make the necessary finding that the proposal will not create any probable significant adverse impacts. The original MDNS imposed an enforceable monitoring program that compelled additional “corrective action” if found necessary to mitigate impacts found as a result of the monitoring process. . . . (see page 36)
The Stipulated Agreement between the City and Tribe dated September 8, 2020, City Ex. 8, is approved as a substitute for the MDNS under appeal, subject to the following revisions: 1. Condition 5a is revised as follows: Prior to occupancy, a monitoring and evaluation program will be developed by a Community Advisory Committee (the “Committee”) made up of, but not limited to, health professionals, community-based organizations, elected leaders, and public safety officials as provided in the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Preliminary Medical Outpatient Clinic and Community Response Plan. Committee membership will be determined by mutual agreement between City and Tribal representatives. The Committee will remain in place for the first three-years of the operation of the clinic. The Committee will meet monthly for the first year and then the Committee can decide on a meeting schedule for subsequent years. Recommended committee size is no more than eight members composition is inclusive of (1) the Director of Health Services for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe (the “Tribe”), (2) the City Manager, (3) the City’s Director of the Department for Community Development, (4) the Clallam County Sheriff, (5) the Chief of the Sequim Police Department, (6) a Councilmember for the Tribe, (7) a Councilmember for the City of Sequim, and (8) a member of the health field with experience in treating Opioid Use
Disorder, and (9) a Sequim resident who applies to join the Committee and is selected by preceding Committee members. . . . (see page 37) ORDERED this 18th day of December 2020. Phil A. Olbrechts Sequim Hearing Examiner Appeal Right and Valuation Notices This Final Decision constitutes a final land use decision of the City of Sequim, appealable to superior court as governed by the Land Use Petition Act (“LUPA”), Chapter 36.70C RCW. LUPA imposes short appeal deadlines with strict service requirements. Persons wishing to file LUPA appeals should consult with an attorney to ensure that LUPA appeal requirements are correctly followed. (SaveOurSequim.org has released a press release that it has petitioned for LUPA Court. My add.) Affected property owners may request a change in valuation for property tax purposes notwithstanding any program of revaluation. FINAL DECISION (see page 39)”
Those opposed to the MAT facility identify with the vision in the Kevin Costner movie, “Field of Dreams”, with its recurring message, “Build it and they will come.” It was a recurring message, until in fact, “they came.” The other memory which springs to mind is a` la Nancy Pelosi when she so famously stated, “We have to pass the bill to see what is in it, far away from the fog of controversy.” In more relevant terms, this MAT facility needs to be built in Sequim so we can see if they will come and what will happen. Humph! I requested a clarification from Ms. Goldberg for the following quote because I think Mr. Olbrechts language is biased. “Whereas Ms. Goldberg likely sought out all the negative materials she could find for instances extending back to 2007 throughout the county, Chief Crain selected her MAT cities based upon similarity to Sequim and then
investigated whether the MAT clinics created any police service impacts. Chief Crain had no reason to skew her results in any particular direction.” Ms. Goldberg stated that her presentation had been heavily redacted because Jamestown S’Klallam tribe objected. Ms. Goldberg’s entire presentation can be found at
sequimwa.gov, city government, MAT appeals, Wendy Goldberg. In her presentation there is a reference to an article, Swinomish wellness center shared successes, challenges, April 18, 2019. A quote from the article is “An ongoing challenge is serving the transient population.”
Mr. Olbreichts comment about Sequim Police Chief Crain having no reason to skew her results in any particular direction is a bit biased, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not. First, Chief Crain is paid by the City of Sequim. Secondly, a quote from paragraph 5 in this article, “She also reported that three of the chiefs told her that the MAT clinics of their communities did not increase the local homeless population. Chief Crain did not identify whether she had spoken to the other two chiefs about this issue.” This appears that Chief Crain did skew her results. And yet, the article Swinomish wellness center shared successes, challenges, states that serving the transient population is a challenge. This is the same Swinomish center that she focused special attention on because it most closely resembles the clinic under appeal. (see page 18 of Mr. Olbreichts Final Decision.) The Decision includes that that the facility “could” create significant impacts on police and emergency services. Furthermore, the impacts are unpredictable given Sequim’s circumstances to make the finding that the proposed MAT will create significant adverse impacts. Chief Crain’s investigation determined it is likely there will be no increase in “violent crime.” Chief Crain’s definition of “violent” is from a standpoint which will be most decidedly different than the victimized aged person, or child, or woman, or a man. How much blood on the ground is needed for an event to be violent? Currently in our world calling someone “hair brained” is considered a violent attack against bald people. How about purse snatching where the 85 year old women victim is only pushed to the ground, but not kicked? Violent” has been reduced to an imprecise and figurative term left to our television addled imaginations. Mr. Olbrechts acknowledges that the possible increase in homeless and people drawn to the “crime culture” actually does present a threat to the community of Sequim. Whats the fix? Page 4 of the Final Decision states the SEPA rules require a “worst case” analysis. In the next paragraph after this statement, the Hearing Examiner states that “Rather than attempt to engage in an arbitrary worst case analysis, a more precise and effective solution would be to simply adopt an enforceable monitoring plan of the type that was originally contemplated. With a right of administrative appeal added to that condition. Please note in the Hearing Examiner’s Decision that the monitoring plan recommended committee is composed of 2 Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe members, 3 City of Sequim employees and 1 City Council member, 1 County Sheriff, 1 member of the health field with experience in treating Opioid Use Disorder and 1 Sequim resident who applies to join the Committee and is selected by the Committee members. No surprise here. Although Hearing Examiner Olbrecht gives the appearance of fairness, once again the citizens of Sequim Proper and greater Sequim have been treated to a slight of hand. While on one hand a Monitoring Committee must be formed for mitigating MAT clinic impacts, no representation is given to the people who oppose having more homeless, crime and drug problems in our community. Who is there to present clinic impacts for mitigating?
From my viewpoint, the evidence illustrates an increase in the transient population (homeless), in non-felony crime and in the deleterious consequences of a drug culture. In the beginning the community leaders and the Jamestown S’klallam Tribe demonstrated little regard, and no respect, for the Community of Sequim. Their behavior has not changed. Why not? Shame on them! Why ought we trust them to mitigate the mess they’re making? Why is this really being built?
Runyan, January 2020