The City of Yakima has already made several changes when it comes to aggressive panhandling and there could be more on the way.
YAKIMA, WA - The City of Yakima has already made several changes when it comes to aggressive panhandling and there could be more on the way.
Jimmy Cowles said he lost his job and from there it got worse. He lost his home next and all his belongings. That's why you might see him panhandling near the Walmart in Terrace Heights.
"I want to find a job," said Cowles. "This is the lowest thing I've ever had to do in my life, and I would rather work than ask anybody for anything."
Cowles panhandles at one of the intersections that's not considered a high traffic area. Last August, the City of Yakima's Public Safety Committee voted to criminalize aggressive begging and ban taking items from cars at 15 major intersections to include 40th Avenue and Summitview and South First Street and Nob Hill Boulevard.
Now the city is proposing to expand that ordinance to include the top 20 intersections with the highest traffic volume.
"They're a distraction," said Tom Hagerman. "So we get enough distractions as it is, so that'd be a good thing."
"The intersection of 40th Avenue and Fruitvale Boulevard would be added to the list. The city said a little more than 30,200 cars pass through everyday."
Some people said they think it's good idea to clear more intersections of panhandlers.
"I would say it's a good thing because the people that are panhandling on the street here right now, they're not for real," said Hagerman. "They're doing heroin, things I've heard."
But Cowles said those are just a few cases. Many panhandlers, like himself, are just down and out of their luck. Cowles said he doesn't think he's bothering anyone or making the roads more dangerous.
"When they hand you money, that's the goodness of their heart," said Cowles. "If they don't want to do it that's fine. I'm not forcing anybody to do anything."
The potential expansion of the panhandling ordinance will be put before city council during their regular business meeting on Tuesday, May 20th.
Highest Volume Intersections:
1. 16th Avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard 2. 40th Avenue and Summitview Avenue 3. Nob Hill Boulevard and 3rd Avenue 4. 1st Street and Nob Hill Boulevard 5. 40th Avenue and Tieton Drive 6. 40th Avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard 7. 16th Avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard 8. 16th Avenue and Summitview Avenue 9. 1st Street and Yakima Avenue 10. 16th Avenue and Yakima Avenue 11. 1st Street and Washington Avenue 12. 40th Avenue and Lincoln Avenue 13. 40th Avenue and Englewood Drive 14. 1st Street and Mead Avenue 15. 40th Avenue and River Road 16. 40th Avenue and Fruitvale Boulevard 17. 1st Street and Lincoln Avenue 18. 16th Avenue and Fruitvale Boulevard 19. 16th Avenue and Tieton Drive 20. 1st Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard