• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Discord stirs over cooling tent at Camp Hope | New

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Jul 30, 2022

SPOKANE, Wash. – With the extreme heat continuing over the weekend, concern is growing for those living at Camp Hope, but there is a battle brewing over whether the cooling tent set up at the camp will no longer early this week can stay up.

When the cooling center has been set upthe Spokane Fire Marshal inspected the tent and was unable to issue a permit because the Washington Department of Transportation had not officially approved the tent to be erected on their property, according to a statement from the city ​​of Spokane on Friday.

The city says it has issued a WSDOT notice of violation for the cooling tent, asking that it be taken down by Monday, Aug. 1, when temperatures are expected to start cooling. The WSDOT could face a $536 fine for each day the tent is left standing past the city’s deadline.

In a joint statement released Friday, the WSDOT and the Washington State Department of Commerce said they would take no action during severe weather to remove the cooling center, citing safety concerns for residents of CampHope.

Their statement from WSDOT and the Washington State Department of Commerce can be read in full below:

“Ultimately, the safety and well-being of people is our paramount concern. In response to the notice of violation from the city government, the state will not act during these extreme weather conditions to suppress the cooling center.

“This encampment began as a protest against the city government’s inaction in providing health and social services and their treatment of homeless people. The state has repeatedly called on the city government to engage and finding constructive solutions to ensure basic public health and safety standards are met and finding safer shelter and long-term housing options.

“We hope that the city administration and the city council will unite behind a plan. Until then, we will continue to review the other local proposals submitted last week and allow non-profit organizations to continue to help people in need.”

In response to the WSDOT and Commerce Department statement, the City of Spokane referenced the plan they submitted to the state last weekwhich they believe would provide housing solutions for residents of Camp Hope.

The statement from the City of Spokane and the Mayor’s Office can be read in full below:

“The city, along with trusted partners throughout the region, submitted a comprehensive and innovative $24 million plan on July 21 to quickly house those currently residing at the WSDOT encampment. The plan, as requested by the Department of Commerce, included immediate and long-term solutions to housing in the Spokane area. Mayor Woodward said, “We strongly support stabilizing housing for all and look forward to approval of the regional plan. by the Ministry of Commerce. We are ready to move forward as soon as we receive funding.

“For seven months, the City has been working tirelessly with the State to ensure not only the safety of the individuals present in the camp, but also the safety of the businesses and the inhabitants of the surrounding area. Contrary to state assertions that the Administration failed to respond to the encampment, the city paid for private security on site, almost daily trash removal, and additional police patrols, in addition to meet nearby residents and businesses to provide timely updates and hear their safety concerns. repeatedly disappointed with the state’s response that the city did not provide assistance to the encampment. We are bound by the law and this may conflict with the actions of organizations providing assistance, but we are open and willing to find workable and legal solutions that meet the needs of the people at the camp,” says the mayor. Woodward.

Julie Garcia of Jewel’s Helping Hands, the organization that oversees Camp Hope’s cooling center, said she didn’t want to take the tent down in the high temperatures, but would eventually comply with all the demands of the WSDOT.

“[We] feel like a football in the middle of this political game,” Garcia said on Friday. “But I want people to understand: they have nothing else, [the cooling center] is all right now. It keeps them alive.”

We don’t know what will happen next. Spokane City Council Speaker Breean Beggs said his primary goal is to get all parties involved to work together on a solution and hopes an agreement can be reached Monday between the WSDOT and the City of Spokane to allow the tent to remain.

“It’s just paperwork, signatures, lawyers have to talk,” Beggs explained. “Nothing is going to happen by Monday – in the heat of the heat the cooling center will be there and lives will be saved. Then Monday hopefully the papers will be signed.”