Grace period in effect for Spokane Valley panhandlers

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A grace period is in effect for panhandlers in Spokane Valley following the city's approval of a tough new panhandling ordinance.

The City of Spokane Valley passed an ordinance Tuesday night to ban panhandlers off most local roadways.

The new law is aimed to keep the public safe and improve traffic flow.

Wednesday marked the first full day of the ordinance, but that didn't stop a pair of panhandlers from asking for money and food on one of the off-ramps at the Interstate 90 Sullivan exit.

"Basically a little bit of change, a little bit of food, anything to get us by for the night, " said one panhandler who went by the name of Patrick.

Patrick and his friend Dustin stood on the corner for two hours without being bothered by local law enforcement.

The pair were hoping to get at least $5 to $10 for food.

"We'll probably go to Arby's and get some food or Walmart and get some food, somewhere cheap, like the dollar menu," said Dustin.

The Spokane Valley Police Department says it will allow panhandlers a two to three week grace period before they start handing out tickets.

"I really don't like it," said Dustin. "It really doesn't bother me much because I'm not going to be here for that long."

"I guess it's a bad thing because they are doing against us and our way of living," said Patrick. "But at the same time, if people voted on it I can't really complain with the majority right, that's what America is."

When the grace period expires, those soliciting food and money from drivers on major arterials and state and federal roadways in Spokane Valley city limits could be ticketed.