Spokane Must Now Open Cooling Centers at 95 Degrees

Jul 13, 2021

The Looff Carrousel is now a cooling center.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Cooling Centers opened in Spokane Public Libraries and at the Looff Carousel today and will be open until the temperature drops below 95 degrees.

The cooling centers re-opened after the Spokane City Council updated an ordinance outlining when the city needs to provide shelter – during heat, winter and smoke events.

Councilwoman Lori Kinnear called on the mayor’s administration to plan ahead for those events, which are likely to become more common due to the worsening climate crisis.

“We lost 20 people this last heat wave and I’m determined we should not lose anymore because of this excessive heat.”

The Spokane County Medical Examiner has linked 20 deaths to the heat wave a few weeks ago, many of which were vulnerable and did not have air conditioning. The city had cooling centers open during that event, and bus transportation was offered starting the hottest day of the heat wave.

The mayor’s administration announced the cooling centers Monday and Mayor Nadine Woodward said the city would work to improve communication, and a cooling center plan.

The city will now be required to provide shelter for the city’s homeless population when temperatures drop below freezing, and provide cool spaces for both people who are experiencing homelessness, and housed people without air conditioning when temperatures are above 95 degrees.