Kennewick approves ordinance to keep panhandlers out of busy intersections



After receiving constant complaints about panhandlers, city leaders in Kennewick take action to keep them out of busy intersections.

Last night, city council members unanimously voted to approve a new ordinance that limits where panhandlers can ask for money throughout the city.

City leaders say the reason for the ordinance is public safety.

They say police officers receive constant calls about solicitation on city streets, and many times, panhandlers create safety risks as they can stop traffic, or step out onto a street for money.

This new ordinance prohibits panhandlers from soliciting money on several busy intersections, including:

-On Columbia Center Blvd. between Clearwater Ave. and Arrowhead Ave.

-On 27th Avenue, between SR 395 and S. Quillan Street

-Within 250 feet of Kennewick Ave. and SR 395, Clearwater Ave. and SR 395, and Columbia Drive and Washington Street

-Within 25 feet of an ATM or financial istitution.

"We have had a lot of calls and concerns, and so luckily, no injuries, but certainly people on the roadway, it could be a matter of time before we had something happen" said Evelyn Lusignan, City of Kennewick.

This does not affect people holding car washes or selling other items in a parking lot of a business, even if they're holding a sign on the sidewalk.

This only applies to people asking for money and doing transactions on the sidewalk or street.

The ordinance goes into effect next week.

Panhandlers who are caught violating the ordinance could be charged with a misdemeanor crime.