‘We’re coming in’: County commissioners greenlight new lawsuit to clear Camp Hope

SPOKANE, Wash. — A new legal battle is brewing at Camp Hope. Spokane County Commissioners say if the city and state won’t clear it, the county will.

On Tuesday, the three commissioners greenlighted the property abatement process, saying the camp is a nuisance. This means county prosecutors are working on legal action against the state and will ask a court for permission to clear the site.

While the timeline is still unknown, Commissioner Josh Kerns wants to stick with the sheriff’s timeline to get involved in mid-November.

“We’re operating under a timeline that will be driven by the courts,” Kerns said.

The county commissioners are plowing ahead, blaming the Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce for allowing the camp to grow for so long.

“We’re coming in,” he said. “We’re going to fix a problem that quite frankly the state has let get completely out of hand.”

County prosecutors wouldn’t comment on the current lawsuit they’re filing. Kerns says they would use all the current shelter space in the county, rapid re-housing options and bus tickets to move people off the property.

When it comes to who’s footing the bill, Kerns says the state should be ready.

“We’ll have to wait and see how that progresses,” he added.

As new legal proceedings begin, progress inside the camp is being led by those living there.

“We dealt with it the way it needed to be dealt with,” said Robert Moody. He helped deal with the aftermath of a drive-by shooting at Camp Hope on Wednesday morning.

Moody lives at the camp and is now running a security team since the fence went up. He says they’re working to address issues from the inside.

“There’s some people that are here that shouldn’t be here, so we are getting those individuals out of here as fast as we can,” he concluded.

Time is of the essence for everyone as a new legal battle stews in the courts. Now, the race is on to re-house people and close the state’s largest homeless camp.

WSDOT says they are aware of the county commissioner’s vote and are awaiting next steps. Jewels Helping Hands says at their last count, around 100 campers were connected to services and left the camp. They expect that number to increase in the coming weeks.

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