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Protest against lack of shelter space in Spokane planned for Saturday

A group of activists and homeless service providers are planning a Saturday rally to protest the lack of progress on a new inclement weather shelter in the city of Spokane.

Spokane has struggled to provide warm, safe spaces for the homeless throughout several cold snaps this winter. A group of community members is demanding that the city’s mayor, Nadine Woodward, move forward on an inclement weather shelter.

Eastern Washington University’s Master’s of Social Work program student, Jeremy Press Taylor is helping organize the protest. He says he’s been disappointed in Woodward’s response to the camp of unsheltered people along I-90, dubbed Camp Hope, the scarcity of available shelter beds, and the mayor’s choice to fence off the Browne Street Viaduct near the House of Charity homeless shelter.

"The fencing is not the solution,” he said. “The solution is more beds and more services."

The group is meeting at the Amtrak Greyhound Station Parking Lot on First Avenue Saturday at noon. Taylor says they will rally there and march to the viaduct, where they plan to place cards with the names of 231 unhoused people who have died in the city over the last two years.

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.