‘Where’s the transparency?’ Mayor, Council at opposite ends of new East Central police precinct

SPOKANE, Wash — Late Friday afternoon, protestors gathered for the second time in the parking lot of the East Central neighborhood’s new police precinct. The new police precinct shares a parking lot with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

Protestors held signs with ‘Where’s the transparency?’ and ‘Nothing about us without us.’

Officers started moving in Thursday into the former East Central Library.

A few blocks away, Larry’s Barbershop has cut hair for more than 40 years. Larry Roseman himself has seen a lot of change over those four decades, and sees potential with the new neighbors down the street.

“They have cop shops at Gonzaga, they have cop shops on the South Hill, they have them all over, why not on the East side?” Roseman said.

His neighbor at Fresh Soul feels the same.

“I think it’s about time, and I think it can be an asset to the East Central community being a business owner and running the two or three businesses along the East 5th corridor,” said Michael Brown, owner of Fresh Soul.

While the Spokane mayor doesn’t need council permission on the location of the council, members of the Spokane City Council say they feel blind sighted.

“I mean that’s what’s disappointing, is that she promised a few weeks ago that City Council would make the final decision based on the community engagement and input,” said Breean Beggs, Spokane City Council President. “She took it into her own hands, she had the legal ability to do it, that doesn’t cure the broken trust in the community over it, and it doesn’t get us a police precinct with those eight officers where the crime is and where they can be accessed by community members.”

Beggs argues the new location for the precinct is hidden, and explains they would much rather have it on East Sprague where the businesses are located.

Mayor Nadine Woodward however, is happy with her decision.

“We listened to the community,” she said. “The council themselves, back in December launched a thought exchange in that neighborhood with the overwhelming sentiment being that they wanted more police there, that they wanted the police precinct to be located there.”

As a result of the mayor’s decision, Spokane City Council intends to propose an ordinance that would make there is community engagement on all infrastructure and facilities, including police precincts, and that city council has the final say.

That ordinance can come as soon as July 11.

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