‘Time to go’: Homeowners want the homeless camp cleared now, WSDOT says it will…soon

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Department of Transportation says it has a plan to clean up the growing homeless camp in East Central Spokane. Neighbors say they want it moved now before they move away for good.

“I’m hoping that it’ll either get better, or we’ll have to move somewhere safer,” said Marcie Thom. She’s lived nearby the camp for about three years and is worried about her family’s safety.

She wants to get her family out of this neighborhood doesn’t let her daughter play outside anymore.

“There’s people in that back alley all the time from the homeless camp down the street,” she said.

She’s not alone in her frustrations.

“This has been a very good neighborhood up until four months ago,” said Neil Hansen. He’s lived in his home on East Fifth Avenue since the 1980’s. He says everyone looks out for each other, and he always felt safe.

When the camp right off I-90 next to the Fred Meyer or Thor Street started to grow, Hansen says the neighborhood started to change.

“I’m frustrated. The neighborhood’s frustrated. I’ve had things stolen off my front porch,” he said.

The city says a new shelter is opening soon at 4320 E. Trent Ave. With no set opening date, the Department Of Transportation is still waiting to clear the camp. In a statement shared with 4 News Now on Wednesday, they said:

“Once the space is available, we will post notice for those at the encampment to vacate the property, then work with our local partners and law enforcement agencies to have the encampment removed and cleaned up.” -Ryan Overton, Communications Manager for WSDOT Eastern Region

If campers don’t leave, Mayor Nadine Woodward says people need to be held accountable.

“At some point, we need to be able to tell people — listen, you can’t make this decision for yourself. We’re going to step in and make it for you,” Woodward said.

These neighbors feel like a decision was made for them to allow a homeless camp to grow in their neighborhood. It’s one they never asked for.

“It’s time to go. It really is time to go,” Hansen said.

READ: ‘It’s not getting any better’: Spokane businesses near homeless shelters want change

READ: WSDOT East decides to not remove homeless encampment near I-90