Businesses battling to remove loiterers from Post Street storefronts

Author: Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist,
Published On: Apr 02 2013 06:16:49 PM PDT
Loitering on Post Street
SPOKANE, Wash. -

While a constant crowd of window shoppers can drive business, on Post Street near the bus plaza the opposite is happening, with loiterers driving business away.

"Lots of younger kids, lots of gangs, gang-fighting on both sides of the streets," she said.

Jaclynn O'Malley manages Whitestone Winery. They get about four people a day during the week and she said customers are scared to walk down the street.

"Customers come in saying, 'There's someone smoking pot outside your doorway, can you do something about it?'" she said.    

The Peyton Building's owners have come together and this week hired Phoenix Security to disperse loiterers. Businesses say it's made a difference.

"Nowhere on Post Street, on this side of Post, where smoking is legal. There's no place that's more than 25 feet from a door and an entrance to a property," property manager Alison Bantz said.

Another thing the people in building did was install a noise maker that has a high piercing sound. Only certain people can hear it, but it's almost painful to listen to.

The people on the sidewalks argue it's a public area and they're waiting in front of empty storefronts.

"It aint open, nobody's bothering nobody," Gary said.

Others argue there's nowhere to smoke while waiting for the bus. They think an area for smokers is the only solution.

"Put it on a cigarette tax. The cigarette people, they're the ones making the big bucks, have them make a designated smoking area," smoker John Millen said.

The building's owners have videotaped the problem and plan to bring it to the city asking for more help.

"This traffic got pushed from Wall Street. Now it's here, and now we have to push it somewhere else," O'Malley said.

If so, the battle for Post Street could come to an end, while the war will continue on another street.