Homeless camps causing issues around Spokane

Homeless camps causing issues around Spokane
Spokane Police Department
A city employee was attempting to clean up an illegal camp when he stepped in a booby trap.

Public safety has been a vital issue around Spokane over the past few months, and homelessness has been a major factor in the discussion.

Illegal camping is the ongoing issue as the city said it has already cleaned 256 homeless camps from May to mid-July.

Another example came on Wednesday when a city employee was cleaning a camp before a nail went through his foot.

A homeless man was arrested and found responsible for creating that set up, which he said was to protect the marijuana he was growing.

City spokesperson Marlene Feist said it becomes even more of an issue during the summer months, and she said the best way to control it is by getting these illegal campers into city programs and shelters.

In fact, she said a new approach from the city is helping, too.

“We started a new team approach to addressing those camps by having our code enforcement and litter control people working directly with police officers to go out and try to get those things cleaned up before they get too large,” Feist said.

Spokane Police said the problem also stems from many of these illegal campers choosing to live in these camps along the river rather than finding permanent housing through some city programs.

They also say those who are booked into jail are often released later that same day before proceeding to illegally camp elsewhere

If you come along any waste or an illegal camp the city urges you to call 311.