Spokane follows in governor’s order to increase cooling center capacity

Riverfront Park
PC: Riverfront Park, James Richman

SPOKANE, Wash. — The order by Gov. Jay Inslee for capacity limitations to be adjusted or removed was released Friday, meaning more space will be available at Spokane cooling spaces.

With the lifting of social distancing requirements, the City of Spokane funded and operated cooling spaces will more than double.

Mayor Nadine Woodward announced plans for a new centralized cooling center in Riverfront Park opening Saturday, as well as the opening of Spokane Public Library as space to anyone who needs temporary relief from the heat wave that’s coming. Woodward also encouraged the faith community to consider offering space to community members who need heat relief.

“We already had a thoughtful, flexible plan in place based upon existing guidance,” Woodward said. “Relaxing the distancing restrictions on cooling centers scales up our plans immediately.”

The multi-purpose rooms at the Looff Carrousel in Riverfront Park open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will have a new capacity of 72 people. Spokane Public Library locations are available, and will be open at most locations on Sunday and Monday to provide additional access.

Additional contingencies for expansions are adding more than 250 total spaces identified in Riverfront Park. The cooling plan, along with capability for expansion, is based on usage and experience from the temporary Safer Air Center in September.

“There is a lot to consider and a multi-disciplinary City team has prepared a well-thought-out plan that is capable of flexing with changes in demand and weather,” Woodward said.

Woodward has asked that all City-partner shelters follow the order to increase capacity.

A City team will be meeting daily to monitor changes in the weather and evaluate operational needs and adjustments.

Daily operation to most Spokane Public Library locations:

East Side, Hillyard, and Indian Trail

Tuesday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (minimal library services available).

South Hill

Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

STA Plaza and Northtown Mall

Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday and Monday, closed. 

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