‘The camp needs to go’: SPD wants Camp Hope cleared, outreach providers push back

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Police join a growing list of local leaders demanding Camp Hope is shut down while outreach providers say it’s impossible.

On Wednesday, Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl sent a letter to Washington’s Department of Transportation and Jewels Helping Hands, saying Camp Hope is a chronic nuisance. The department now joins the sheriff, county commissioners and county prosecutors racing to clear the camp.

“The camp needs to go,” said Brian Coddington. He’s the director of communications for the City of Spokane.

In the letter 4 News Now obtained, SPD says theft, drug use, defecation on businesses’ property, violence and shootings are just some of their concerns at the site.

“Where there needs to be more conversation, and we’re still having that discussion is about the timeline to get that work accomplished,” Coddington added.

The City says they’re talking with WSDOT and the Department of Commerce regularly. What they can’t agree on yet is a timeline to close the camp which is why they’re starting the chronic nuisance process.

“It’s creating an absolute circus with 600 people’s lives in the middle of it,” said Julie Garcia. She’s the executive director of Jewels Helping Hands.

She’s also one of the camp directors. For her, the expectation to have the site totally cleaned up by Nov. 15 in unrealistic.

“It’s impossible, and they know that it’s impossible.” Garcia said. “This is all about elections.”

She’s blaming the elected leaders for not getting involved sooner and playing politics.

“We lack real leadership in this city, and that’s apparent by how this situation has been handled,” Garcia concluded.

The situation is intensifying as numerous local leaders call for the camp to be shut down sooner rather than later and those on site push back.

WSDOT acknowledged the police chief’s concerns and says they’ll respond back before the expected deadline.

RELATED: Spokane Police Chief formally declares Camp Hope a chronic nuisance property