More than 133,000 pounds of trash collected off Spokane streets since May

More than 133,000 pounds of trash have been cleared off Spokane streets this year. That’s thanks to a pilot program the City of Spokane started in May.

In October alone, city clean-up crews picked up nearly 16,000 pounds of trash from illegal campsites. July was their highest month, when they removed almost 25,000 pounds of waste. As of November, crews are averaging 1,300 pounds of trash picked up each day.

The city has also been working to improve illegal camping enforcement. Since May, code enforcement were sent out to nearly 800 reports for illegal camping. From that, they’ve counted almost 500 arrests and citations.

The City of Spokane told 4 News Now Monday afternoon, cleaning crews have picked up more than 133,000 pounds of trash so far this year.

It sounds like a lot, but we wanted to check in with downtown businesses to see if they’ve noticed a difference since the city’s pilot program.

These are businesses that came to 4 News Now this year because they said they’ve been dealing with trash and the homeless community loitering around their stores.

We asked if they’ve seen improvements, but the answers have been mixed.

In May, the City of Spokane put together a team to clean up homeless camps, and they’ve been busy.

“Now, from start to finish, it takes about five days. So there is a significant reduction in time, resources , and solid waste,” said Kirstin Davis, City of Spokane.

4 News Now viewers may remember Pistole Boardshop in downtown Spokane. Back in may, we talked to them about their concerns with transients in front of their business.

They say, they haven’t seen much change.

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“For the most part, it’s the same people all the time. Just moved across the street for the most part,” said Joshua Godfrey, manager at Pistole Boardshop.

The boardshop took matters into their own hands and hired a security guard.

“Security has made it a little easier on me. A little bit less of me going out each day and asking people to move it down and stuff like that,” Godfrey said.

In July, there was another downtown Spokane business. They said they’d come to work to open their shop and it would reek of urine, and there would be trash piled up by their doors.

4 News Now spoke with the manager of that shop Monday afternoon, and he said code enforcement comes around two to three times a week. That’s a big difference from this summer.

A few months back, we talked to the co-owner of Fern, a business housed at the dormitory in Browne’s Addition. Alex Ekins said it’s gotten much cleaner around his business since then, but also said to 4 News Now that could be a result of him being so vocal about the issues he’s been facing.

What Ekins questions is how Spokane is going about solving the homelessness issue. He said he questions if it’s smart for the city to use resources on reactive measures like clean-up crews, rather than working towards the root of the problem.

“I would say that what we are doing is proactive. We are certainly everyday moving more towards wrap-around services to keep people in their homes,” Davis said.

The City of Spokane said the pilot program doesn’t have a deadline. They’re continuing to work on it and make improvements on it as they move forward.