Archives West Finding Aid
Table of Contents
Sidewalk Ordinance Records, 1991-1997
- Seattle (Wash.). Law Dept.
- Sidewalk Ordinance Records
- 1991-1997 (inclusive)19911997
- 4 cubic feet, (4 boxes)
- Collection Number
- Records relating to the development of an ordinance outlawing sitting or lying on downtown sidewalks, as well as the litigation that followed.
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
- Access Restrictions
Records are open to the public.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
The Law Department represents the City in all legal matters and litigation, provides legal advice and opinions to City departments and agencies, and is responsible for prosecuting violations of City ordinances in Municipal Court. The position of City Attorney was established in 1875. The 1890 City Charter created the Law Department headed by the Corporation Counsel. The title was changed to City Attorney in 1977.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
In 1993 and 1994, City Council passed several "civility laws" at the urging of City Attorney Mark Sidran. One of these laws - Ordinance 116885, as amended by Ordinance 117103 - banned sitting or lying on the sidewalk in the downtown area from 7 am to 9 pm. Sarah McConahy, a formerly homeless youth, and John Hoff, an advocate for Seattle's homeless, were cited under the law. When they both were found to have violated the ordinance, they joined in an appeal to challenge the law in court. The state Court of Appeals and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ordinance did not violate constitutional rights, and the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case, allowing the law to stand.
This series documents the enactment of the "civility" ordinances along with the litigation that followed. Box 4 contains mostly correspondence and memos regarding the development of the law, including a great deal of citizen feedback. Boxes 1-3 consist of court filings and legal documents; note that there are many duplicates within these files. These three boxes have been scanned and are available in Digital Collections. An index lists most of the documents in these three boxes. Where documents in a set of scans can be matched with the index, the index range is included in the folder title.
Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
[Item and date], Sidewalk Ordinance Records, Record Series 4402-04. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
|1||1||Litigation Records (1.a.i. - 1.a.v.22)||1993-1994|
|1||2||Litigation Records (1.a.v.23 - 2.a.ix)||1993-1995|
|1||3||Litigation Records (2.a.x - 2.b.v)||1994-1995|
|1||4||Litigation Records (2.b.vi - 2.b.xxiv)||1994-1995|
|1||5||Litigation Records (2.b.xxv - 2.b.xxxvi)||1994-1995|
|1||6||Litigation Records (3.a.i - 3.b.ii)||1994|
|1||7||Litigation Records (3.b.iii - 4)||1993-1994|
|2||2||Litigation Records (5-6)||1993-1994|
|2||3||Litigation Records (6)||1995|
|2||4||Litigation Records (6)||1994-1995|
|3||2||Litigation Records (9.c - 11)||1994-1997|
|3||3||Litigation Records (12 - 23.a.v)||1993-1996|
|3||4||Litigation Records (23.a.vi - 23.a.xxxix)||1994-1996|
|3||5||Litigation Records (23.a.xl - 29)||1994-1997|
|3||6||Litigation Records (29 - 31.a)||1991-1995|
|3||7||Litigation Records (31.b - 32)||1994-1995|
|3||8||Litigation Records (32 - 34)||1994-1995|
|4||4||Public Safety Committee||1993|
|4||5||Transcript - Public Safety Committee Hearing, Sept. 2, 1993||1993|
|4||10||Constituent Comments - Support||1993|
|4||11||Constituent Comments - Oppose||1993|
|4||17||Letters from Seniors Living at 900 University Street||1993|
|4||19||Penn Hall Apartments||1993|
|4||22||Greater University Chamber of Commerce (includes photos)||1991-1993|
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Begging--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Homelessness--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Litigation--Washington (State)--Seattle