‘Curing Spokane’: Local developer produces documentary highlighting crime in Spokane

‘Curing Spokane’: Local developer produces documentary highlighting crime in Spokane
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The issue of homelessness and crime is one that has dominated headlines across Washington in recent months, heightened with documentaries like ‘Seattle is Dying’ airing on the west side. Now a new video, which debuted online Thursday, is shifting the spotlight to the east.

Prominent local developer Larry Stone has commissioned a 17-minute video called ‘Curing Spokane,’ which Stone says, sets out to address concerns with safety downtown and property crime across the city.

“Spokane is definitely not dying, but Spokane does have some serious problems that need to be addressed,” Stone said. “I see it getting far worse. So I produced this film to raise awareness and ask for change from our leaders.”

Stone said a recent work trip to Boise inspired the project.

“I traveled to Boise last fall and experienced Spokane like it was 30 years ago,” he said.

Stone’s video often compares Spokane to Boise — two cities, he says, which are similar in size and demographics, but differ when it comes to crime.

Over the course of 17 minutes you’ll hear from neighbors, business owners and the Spokane County Jail director, who say they’re upset with the way things are going in Spokane.

“It seems like these people become out of their mind and they’re the people you will literally cross the road to avoid because that’s just how scary they are!,” one woman says in the video.

Stone was quick to defend the project Thursday, saying even though most of the video shows homeless people, the project does not blame Spokane’s homeless for the issues portrayed downtown.

“One of the biggest mistakes people make, is they look at the problems of downtown and they call it ‘homeless,'” Stone said. “The homeless deserve our sympathy and our compassion. The people causing the problems downtown are not homeless, it is the criminals.”

Stone’s project offers up four potential solutions, starting with building a new, larger jail to stop Spokane’s so-called “revolving door” of criminals.

“Both adult and juvenile re-offenders end up back on the street frustrating business owners and employees,” the narrator says in the video.

Next, Stone recommends heightened patrols downtown, where officers should enforce all crimes, including misdemeanors.

“The solution is not simply to add more police downtown,” the narrator continues. “Boise employs roughly the same number of officers as Spokane. The solution is in how they are policing.”

Stone’s most ambitious solution is his proposal to sell the downtown bus station and move the STA Plaza underground. Since Stone is a prominent developer in Spokane, 4 News Now asked if he would be involved in a project like moving the STA Plaza underground, should it ever gain traction.

“I don’t have any knowledge… I’m not a transit expert,” Stone told 4 News Now. “All I can say is, cities large and small have gone to underground solutions and it works beautifully.”

Finally, Stone recommends revamping a parking system to make downtown more inviting.

“More visitors downtown will put pressure on the criminals to leave,” the narrator explains in ‘Curing Spokane’.

The timing of the video’s launch is interesting, too — considering it’s going live in the middle of Spokane’s mayoral election. Stone told 4 News Now he’s staying neutral and is not backing either Nadine Woodward or Ben Stuckart. Stone is, however, buying television advertising time to promote his project.

Stone’s video launched Thursday afternoon and is already being met with criticism online, with Stuckart firing back on a Twitter thread.

“I don’t see how Larry can watch his own film and decide the solutions are parking spaces instead of mental health treatment, underground bus stations instead of affordable housing, and a bigger jail instead of programs that get our people out of poverty,” Stuckart Tweeted.

4 News Now has not partnered with Stone on this production. He paid to license our reports.