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Mar 13, 2023 6 min read

City eyes Cannon shelter closure at the end of May

City eyes Cannon shelter closure at the end of May
After May, the city's plan is to “absorb" the Cannon shelter's 72 beds into the Trent shelter. (Photo illustration by Valerie Osier)
Table of Contents

CIVICS | And, the city council is finalizing impact fees for developers.

Welcome to CIVICS, where we make sense of public meeting agendas in and around Spokane so you don't have to. We hope you use this weekly series to inform your daily life, take action and show up for your community.

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Urban Experience Committee

Cannon closing?

The Salvation Army has been running both the Trent and Cannon shelters since late last year, but it appears that after May, the Cannon shelter will be closing. The Urban Experience Committee will hear a request from the Community, Housing & Human Services department to extend the contract with The Salvation Army to run the Cannon Street shelter through May 31, 2023 for a total of $800,000. The contract terminated on December 31 and the money for the extension will come from reallocated Department of Commerce grant funding. But after that, the city's plan is to “absorb the Cannon Shelter beds into the Trent Resource and Assistance Center.” This is concerning, as the city would be losing a 72-bed year-round shelter that is designed for human habitation and replace it with beds at an industrial warehouse without indoor plumbing.

As of 2021, the city had invested at least $1.9 million into the Cannon shelter to make it usable. The agenda is light on details, but Mayor Nadine Woodward mentioned the possibility of closing Cannon in a recent press conference. Closing the shelter would require city council approval under a 2021 ordinance that states: “At no time shall the City reduce or eliminate specific night-by-night shelter beds without first having in place additional replacement shelter bed capacity sufficient to meet the requirements of SMC 18.05 unless authorized by City Council resolution.”

Rapid re-housing with Housing Navigator

Housing Navigator got a $500,000 contract with Spokane to provide a rapid re-housing program for about 20 people from Camp Hope who are challenging to place because of medical and mental health needs. The nonprofit will be in charge of handling landlord outreach, partnerships, incentive fund payments and coordinating financial assistance. The money came from a Department of Commerce grant and the committee will be discussing the program.

Agenda here
Monday, March 13 at 1:15 p.m.
Council Briefing Center in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201
The meeting is also live streamed here.

Spokane City Council

Moving money around for Expo+50

The Spokane riverfront is going to get some improvements ahead of Expo+50 in summer 2024, including the renovation of the South Suspension Bridge in Riverfront Park and a zipline. To hit that deadline and cover the costs, the city council is set to approve a Special Budget Ordinance that will move money around to and from different funds. We really wish the agendas had diagrams for how all this works, but ultimately, about $1.4 million will come from the Recreation and Conservation Office via a reimbursable grant and another $1.4 million will come from REET 2 funds (Real Estate Excise Tax “second quarter percent”) to pay for the South Suspension Bridge. Read more in a January CIVICS here.

Impact fees

The city council is set to consider three emergency ordinances focused on updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan, transportation impact and general utility fees for developers to ensure they’re covering the costs borne by the city to provide utilities and services. This is being done as the six-month building moratorium in Latah Valley is about to end.

The ordinances amend the city’s comprehensive plan, Transportation Impact Fees (which pays for things like roads and infrastructure) and General Facilities Charges (which pays for utility services to get hooked up) so they all keep pace with inflation and construction costs.  

For more on the development fee saga and concerns in Latah Valley check out today’s article from Emry Dinman in the Spokesman Review.

A more open forum

The city council will have a first reading of an ordinance that would tweak council procedure rules to take away the rules that limited people from speaking at open forum more than once per month and remove the 30-minute time limit on open forum time. This is the part of a city council meeting where members of the public are able to talk to the council on city-related issues that are not on the meeting agenda.

Agenda here
Monday, March 13 at 6 p.m.
Council Chambers in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201
The meeting is also live streamed here.

County Commission

Drug money

Spokane County is getting a settlement from a class action lawsuit settlement against pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids. The distributors include Teva, Allergan, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. The settlement is expected to bring in an estimated $217 million to Washington cities and counties and Spokane County is set to get about $12 million over a 15 year period. The agenda item for the commissioners to approve the county’s participation in the lawsuit doesn’t say what the money would be used for.

Agenda here
Tuesday, March 14 at 2 p.m.
Public Works Building
1116 W Broadway, Spokane, WA
Commissioner’s Conference Room, First Floor

Mead School District Board of Directors

The Mead board of directors has been searching for a new superintendent since early February when the current superintendent Shawn Woodward announced he would be accepting the same position at Monroe School District near Seattle and will leave at the end of the school year. The board has been holding work sessions since then to discuss potential candidates and is set to again on Monday. They decided at a special March 7 meeting that because of the number of superintendent positions open in the state to try to directly hire from the pool of candidates vetted four years ago when Woodward was hired. This Monday “Superintendent selection” is an action item on the agenda, but it’s not clear if it means they are actually selecting someone for the job yet.  

The new superintendent will be facing budget issues, a levy renewal ballot measure in early 2024, and school board elections.

Too Juul for school

The school board is set to accept a settlement from a massive lawsuit against Juul vaping company by hundreds of school districts for allegedly targeting kids in its marketing and deceiving them about its addictiveness. The district is set to get about $280,000 in the settlement, minus legal fees. Spokane Public Schools also joined the lawsuit back in 2022.

Agenda here
Monday, March 13 at 6 p.m.
Union Event Center
12509 N. Market St. Bldg. D, Mead, WA 99021
Watch via Zoom here

Central Valley School District Board of Directors

The agenda wasn’t available at the time of publication but can be found here once posted.

Monday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Learning and Teaching Center (district office)
Board Room at 2218 N Molter Rd, Liberty Lake
Watch via Zoom here.

Spokane Transit Authority Board of Directors

Public transportation access

This is one of those public agencies that favors having little to no information in its agenda packets. One item that caught our eye is a board discussion on reduced fare categories, but the agenda packet only elaborates: “A discussion will be held at the Board meeting regarding reduced fare categories.”

We were curious about STA’s board meeting because councilmember Zach Zappone told RANGE he was hoping to address increasing access to public transportation for all low-income people, including unhoused folks at the Trent shelter at this meeting.

Agenda here
Thursday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m.
1230 West Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA
Watch virtually here

Trans Day of Resistance

The Spokane Trans-Abolitionist Resistance is hosting a day of community-building to create intersectional unity and solidarity on Saturday.

In the 2023 legislative session, there have been 460 bills introduced in 43 states that take aim at trans people's rights. Of those, 10 have passed, 38 have failed and 412 are active, according to the Trans Legislation Tracker.

The event will include speakers, music, art, free food, clothes swap and zine distribution.

Saturday, March 18, 12 to 4 p.m.
Cracker Building
304 W. Pacific Ave. Spokane, WA
Masks required and provided
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