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Spokane County Asks Governor To Make Home Construction Essential

Public Domain Pictures/Paul Brennan

Spokane area business leaders say they’re working to help firms not only get through the current crisis, but also to help them recover after it’s over.

One of the first steps, says County Commissioner Al French, is for Governor Jay Inslee to reverse his decision that residential homebuilding is a non-essential business. French and his fellow commissioners requested that in a letter to the governor this week.

“His determination that it is not caused a number of our residents here who have sold their homes prior to this epidemic surfacing, in anticipation of moving into a new home that’s under construction, it stalled the construction of the new homes," said French at a Thursday morning media briefing.

He says many families are in limbo. They’ve sold their homes and moved out, but they have nowhere to go. That includes hotels, many being closed due to the coronavirus. 

“There are mechanisms, there are protocols that the homebuilders, as well as other contractors, can use to maintain safe distancing on the construction site, to make sure they’ve got safe environments for their workers," French said.

He says the industry should be allowed to go back to work in those cases and clear the backlog of partially-built homes. He says Spokane County has made the case along with other county officials from around the state, with no response yet from the governor.