Grassroots campaign aims to make Downtown Spokane safer

Grassroots campaign aims to make Downtown Spokane safer

SPOKANE, Wash. - A recent attack in Downtown Spokane is prompting one man to take action, in hopes of making Spokane streets safer.

It's been less than two weeks since a couple's night out on the town became a violent encounter.

"I really thought they were killing him, they were punching his face, they were punching the back of his head," Billie Palmer said.

One night in late January, Bruce and Billie Palmer were attacked as they tried to drive home from dinner at the Steam Plant Grill. Bruce sustained several injuries including a broken nose.

"My heart was broken honestly," Nathan McKenzie-O'Neill said.

McKenzie-O'Neill doesn't know the Palmer's but he wants to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

"Instead of just saying, 'Oh I feel bad for you. We are saying: Oh how can we help?' We are just getting this started," McKenzie-O'Neill said.

After hearing the terrifying story, McKenzie-O'Neill felt compelled to do something. He just launched a Facebook page, called Safety of Spokane.

"We need to do something right now to show downtown there is a presence that we are listening to them, we heard it, and I'm just calling for help," McKenzie-O'Neill said.

His vision: create a volunteer presence in downtown to deter crime. McKenzie-O'Neill says volunteers would walk and monitor the streets acting as the eyes and ears of the city.

"T-shirts, maybe arm bands, something to show Spokane that we are aware that we are around and if we see something happen, make a phone call," McKenzie-O'Neill said.

McKenzie-O'Neill hopes to get the Spokane Police Department and downtown businesses involved as well. He wants people like himself, to feel comfortable coming to the heart of the city.

If you want to know more about this grassroots movement, click on the NewsLink tab of the website.