Business owners in downtown concerned about safety, hoping for solutions

SPOKANE, Wash.– The Starbucks on 2nd and Division Street in downtown Spokane closed its lobby to the public, citing safety concerns. The drive-thru is only open right now.

This store is not the only business in the area that’s calling for help while dealing with illegal drug use in their parking lots.

The downtown area has been the focus of cleanup from the city for years. The city completely revamped Division Street, but local business owners like Bret Gordan, President of Lumberbeard Brewing on Third Avenue, still see a problem.

“We get a lot of junkies in our parking lots. I got to kick them out…picking up trash,” said Gordan. “Usually once a week, we kind of have to sweep around the whole building, kind of clean up the trash.”

Gordan says he would like it to stop.

“We put up cameras and signs saying we have cameras up,” said Gordan. “That helped a little bit, but it’s getting frustrating.”

Across the street, Steve Niles at the American Lock and Key Store is dealing with similar problems.

“I’m seeing people, ten, 15 people who are all doing drugs at the same time, constantly, it’s a row of them almost every day,” said Niles.

Spokane Police say they are well aware of this area, adding that this area traditionally generates a lot of calls for service and criminal activity.

“SPD employs specific patrol missions to this and other high crime areas on a regular basis. During these missions, extra officers are assigned to the area which has been successful in driving down crime numbers and calls for service,” the Spokane Police said in a statement.

Business owners also say they are hoping to see an ordinance to secure their safety as soon as possible.

READ: Starbucks closes lobby of downtown Spokane location, citing ‘safety concerns’