Jewels Helping Hands to be fined unless they remove its ‘Camp Hope Access Tent’

SPOKANE, Wash. — The structure put up by Jewels Helping Hands on Washington State Department of Transportation land has evolved from a cooling tent to the “Camp Hope access tent.”

Julie Garcia with Jewels Helping Hands says the tent is a way for her organization to provide resources to those living at Camp Hope.

“They get two meals a day here now, so they’re eating out of that tent, all their water is out of that tent, and there’s no access to water or electricity anywhere in this lot so it’s their only place to go,” Garcia said.

The Spokane Fire Department is again telling Jewels Helping Hands to take it down. As of right now, there is no permit for the tent.

Garcia said she applied for one in July, but it was never approved.

“The reason that we couldn’t permit it was that WSDOT had to permit it or it be a lease on the land for the city to permit it,” Garcia said.

The city says the Department of Transportation needs someone to take responsibility or ownership of the property before a permit can be issued.

“The issue is, in order to obtain a permit you have to have permission from the property owner to be able to apply for the permit. There’s no permission from the property owner, therefore that cannot be issued,” said Brian Coddington, communications director for the city of Spokane.

The city says that right now, WSDOT owns the property, but it hasn’t authorized the use of the property for the purpose of the tent.

Now, either WSDOT needs to give Jewels Helping Hands permission to have the tent on that property and assume liability for it, or the state can lease the property to a third party, who can then give Jewels Helping Hand permission to use the land and assume liability.

The city has given Jewels Helping Hand until Thursday to remove the tent. If it’s not gone by then, a $536 fine will be issued every day until it’s taken down.

Eventually, if these fines are not paid, the city may take it to court.

RELATED: Spokane Fire Department orders Jewels Helping Hands to take down cooling shelter