Spokane City Council members revise emergency weather ordinance

Cooling Heating Centers

SPOKANE, Wash. — On Friday afternoon, Spokane City Council members revised their emergency weather ordinance set for consideration during Monday’s upcoming legislative session.

“We’ve listened to the community, we’ve heard the administration, and we are making accommodations to revise the emergency weather ordinance,” said Public Safety and Community Health Chair Councilwoman Lori Kinnear. “This isn’t about the Council or Administration; it’s about fundamental care for the people of Spokane during brutal and extreme weather and ensuring that we have adequate resources and processes in anticipation of future hazardous weather conditions.”

In the revision, The City of Spokane said the ordinance focuses directly on guidelines and activations to help unhoused people and those in vulnerable situations during hazardous weather conditions such as extreme heat, wildfire smoke, or dangerously low temperatures.

They said the ordinance removes distinction on emergency sheltering specifications, which will be addressed in a separate ordinance and will be up for consideration during a legislative session in two weeks.

Ordinances for emergency sheltering have been previously approved. The city said the current ordinance looks to update criteria and protocols in response to emergency weather to include both people with and without homes during inclement weather, such as heat above 100 degrees or higher than 95 degrees for two consecutive days or more.