Spokane City Council strikes down ordinance change on proposed shelter

SPOKANE, Wash. — The City Council shut down a zoning change that would allow a new shelter in an industrial location.

On Monday night, two city council members voted in opposition to the zoning change. Councilmembers Betsy Wilkerson and Karen Stratton voted against the zoning change. Councilmember Zack Zappone did not vote.

“I really felt that it wasn’t the time. I know we’ll have another chance to look at the issue, but I want to look at the issue again knowing that the people who need to weigh in have been given that opportunity,” said Karen Stratton. She’s a City Council Member for District 3.

The city said it has looked at nearly 100 locations throughout the city. Pushback from neighborhoods and local businesses forced the city to alter course.

The new shelter the City is pushing for is at 4320 E. Trent Ave. in East Spokane. It’s a 33,000-square-foot warehouse owned by local developer Larry Stone who said he’s holding the building with hopes the city will use it as a new shelter.

Stratton says she isn’t opposed to a new shelter at that location but isn’t convinced now is the time to move forward.

“We all want the same thing — the administration, the council, the community, we all want the same thing, but I think that we need to meet, we need to have additional information. My big thing is wraparound services. We can’t just warehouse people,” she said.

The Mayor has already said there will be drug addiction and mental health resources at the shelter she’s proposing.

Stratton says the City Council is expecting more information at next Monday’s City Council meeting on April 25. She’s expecting to learn who the provider will be and says they could vote on a zoning change in the area again.

READ: ‘Curing Spokane’ producer purchases warehouse for city’s newest homeless shelter

Stratton says this doesn’t mean the new shelter proposal is totally halted. She just wants to see more communication with businesses in the area and more details released about who will run the shelter and actually be able to provide services to help people transition out of homelessness.

READ: ‘No prior warning’: Businesses worry about new shelter coming to East Spokane