City crews respond to clean up campsites at downtown Spokane underpass

A homeless camp is cleared out by the City of Spokane
Copyright 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — Homeless campers under the Browne St. underpass in downtown Spokane were cleared out by city crews Tuesday morning.

The underpass has been a popular camping site for years. Tents and trash have often blocked the public sidewalk.

4 News Now reached out to the City of Spokane when the underpass was once again filled with people Monday morning. A city spokesperson said there had been five calls to 311 about the underpass in the last week, and more than a dozen in the last month.

The city is only able to enforce its sit-and-lie law, which prohibits public camping, when there is still shelter space available. City leaders claim shelters have had open space in recent days.

[READ: Despite bed space, homeless camp fills downtown underpass]

“Since November 15 based on reports received by the Homeless Management Information System there have only been a few nights that there was not space available and the majority were Spokane families in need. Since Catholic Charities Rising Strong opened in December, there have been beds available for all populations,” said Kirstin Davis, a communications manager for the City of Spokane.

Spokane city crews respond to illegal camping under downtown underpass

Spokane city crews respond to illegal camping under downtown underpass

When contacted by code enforcement, Davis said it’s common for illegal campers to leave the area, wait for the city clean, then return to the spot.

It’s not clear if those who were cleared out Tuesday morning were officially cited or just asked to leave.