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City of Spokane searching for new emergency shelter site

SpokaneConventionCenter
Wikimedia Commons
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The Spokane Convention Center as seen from Riverfront Park. It was the site of a city of an emergency warming shelter. During peak times, more than 340 people were staying at the center.

The city of Spokane is searching for a new emergency warming shelter after the closing the one that had been located in the city’s Convention Center.

The city of Spokane is required by its code to provide shelter during extreme cold, or heat events. The last two weeks, it’s been using the Spokane Convention Center. On its busiest day, the convention center sheltered more than 340 people from the cold.

But the Convention Center is closing to repair damage from operating as a shelter, and to prepare for a season of upcoming events.

City spokesman Brian Coddington says the city has been struggling to find a building to operate as an emergency shelter for more than a year.

“It's challenging to find a building owner, or commercial broker who's willing to lease for this purpose,” Coddington said. “There has (also) been neighborhood concerns, we've seen that in a number of locations now, where there’s been significant pushback from the neighborhoods. And, just finding the right space, along public transportation, in an area that's not right up against a school, or daycare facility, that really fits into with the characteristic of the neighborhood."

Coddington says the city now has the assistance of state emergency managers in its search for a suitable building.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.