Spokane County

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Throughout the pandemic, communities of color have been hit disproportionately hard, with higher death, and hospitalization rates. When the state’s eviction moratorium ends this month, many believe that people of color will be disproportionally impacted as well.  

Terri Anderson, Director of the Spokane Chapter of the Tenant’s Union of Washington State, said Black and Latino families, especially in Spokane, are much more likely to be renters. They were underserved when rental assistance was distributed into the community during the pandemic.

Courtesy of Spokane County

Spokane County Jail staff have asked for a $32 million temporary jail to replace an aging facility near the airport they argue is near the end of its usable life.

The Geiger Jail facility is a 50-year-old former military base which can handle around 300 inmates. Spokane County Detention Services Director Mike Sparber said it has serious sewage and infrastructure problems that could cost millions to fix.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Tenants, landlords, and housing advocates fear that the Spokane area’s supply of affordable housing may not survive the pandemic.

They are pleading for rental assistance and other measures as a way to transition out of the eviction moratorium.

Steve Corker is worried about what’s going to happen when landlords regain their right to evict tenants who have fallen behind during the pandemic.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Despite delays in census data caused by the pandemic, the effort to redistrict the state, and the Spokane area will soon be underway.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said despite those delays, state law requires redistricting to start this spring. The deadline for most new boundaries is the end of November.

On Friday the U.S. Census Bureau announced that population data it planned to release to states on March 31 will be pushed back to Sept. 30.

Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio

The Spokane region was awarded a $700,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation this week to invest in programs that reduce overincarceration in the Spokane County Jail.

Spokane Businesses Eligible To Pick Up Free PPE Tuesday

Dec 20, 2020
Courtesy of Spokane County/Greater Spokane

Spokane County and Greater Spokane will distribute more personal protective equipment to small businesses and non-profits Tuesday at the Fairgrounds.

Cara Coon from Greater Spokane says the county bought these supplies for businesses earlier this year with federal CARES Act dollars.

Courtesy of Jail Exchange

Spokane County officials report 39 cases of Covid among inmates at the Geiger Correctional Center in Airway Heights and one at the county jail downtown.

Courtesy of Spokane County

 

 

Spokane County broke ground today [Friday] on a new facility that will give police a new option for dealing with people with substance abuse and/or mental health problems.

Commissioner Al French says the current options are jail or a psychiatric facility.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane County will soon distribute face coverings to local non-profits to distribute to individuals whose income is 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Simone Ramel-McKay from the emergency management division says her office expects to receive about 320,000 masks next month.

Spokane County

The American court system can be difficult to navigate, especially for people who don’t deal regularly with it. Spokane County has taken one temporary step to help those who have court-related questions.

Spokane County Solid Waste image

Spokane County officials says its waste transfer stations are open during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Both of the county's waste transfer stations, off Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley and off Highway 2 at Elk-Chattaroy Road, are open and accepting garbage as well as green garden materials and recyclables.

But the lockdown has meant more people have time on their hands to work on their yards and clean out basements and garages.

Spokane County

The state of Washington has awarded Spokane County $1.96 million to build a new triage center for people with mental health and substance abuse problems.

Photo by Lexi Alex Biggs

An old wooden bridge that has been closed by Spokane County for being unsafe is causing headaches for some residents of the West Plains.

The Euclid Road wooden bridge is owned by BNSF Railway. County engineers declared it to be unsafe about a month ago.

Since then residents have had to use a detour, Newkirk Road, to reach their homes.

Spokane Jury Convicts Man Of Murder

Aug 28, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Spokane jury on Wednesday convicted a man of murdering another man whom he believed was abusing a 17-year-old girl in 2016.

The jury found John Radavich guilty of first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances. Radavich was convicted of killing Robert Tester in September 2016 in Tester’s home in the southwest part of the county.

Spokane Judge Upholds Five Commissioner Law

Aug 16, 2019
Spokane County

A Spokane County Superior Court judge today [Friday] rejected a lawsuit that challenges a new state law that will mandate the county to add two county commissioners.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Washington state auditor’s office is recommending Spokane County improve its oversight of payments made to third parties who file claims.

The auditor issued a report today [Thursday] in a case involving a former Spokane County employee who was responsible for falsified checks worth more than a million dollars over a ten-year period.

Spokane County

The so-called ‘McCleary fix’ is now becoming real for Spokane County taxpayers.

Last year, the Washington legislature shifted some of the property owners’ tax burden from the local to state level as part of a revised plan to increase funding for public schools. That is showing up on the property tax bills mailed this week by the county assessor’s office.

Inland Journal, Sept. 21, 2017

Sep 21, 2017

This week on Inland Journal...

    ▪    We’ll talk with the superintendent of the Marysville School District, home of a fatal school shooting in 2014. She and a staff member visited the Freeman School District last week to provide support and advice for dealing with last week’s shooting.
    ▪    We’ll talk with Spokane City Councilman Breean Beggs about his plans to put a sidewalk funding initiative on Spokane’s 2018 general election ballot.
    ▪    Advocates for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department flood a county commission budget hearing as they try to protect the department from further spending cuts.
    ▪    The city of Spokane releases more details of its massive Monroe Street rehabilitation project, due to begin in 2018.

Inland Journal, August 17, 2017

Aug 17, 2017

Inland Journal for August 17, 2017

This week on Inland Journal:
    ▪    Spokane County decides to pull its November ballot measure that would have asked voters for an increase in property taxes beyond what the state allows without a public vote.
    ▪    Spokane’s Central Valley School District has several new or renovated schools that will open this fall to students. We’ll visit one of them and talk about what kind of effect they will have on the district.
    ▪    The massive cleanup of mining waste continues in north Idaho. We’ll talk about the challenge of cleaning up waste that has been moved out of the Silver Valley toward the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area.
    ▪    A large number of volunteers who will be giving their time to help with science experiments related to next Monday’s solar eclipse.
    ▪    Steve Jackson will have a report about the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that will come to the Spokane area next week in conjunction with the new PBS series about the Vietnam War.

Spokane County Cancels November Ballot Measure

Aug 17, 2017
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

This week the Spokane County Commissioners announced they’re taking a measure off of the November ballot. That would have asked taxpayers for permission to raise county property taxes by more than one percent next year. State law allows counties to increase property taxes up to one percent without a vote of the people; anything more must be approved at the polls.

Commissioner Al French says the board acted in response to the legislature’s decision to increase state property taxes to raise significantly more money for public schools and satisfy a state Supreme Court ruling.

Washington 2017 Primary Election Results

Aug 1, 2017
MapleValleyReporter.com

Spokane city voters have picked the candidates they want on the November ballot.

In the city’s Northwest district, council member Candace Mumm won nearly 54% of the vote and will face Matthew Howes, who claimed 30%,  in November.

In the Northeast district, Kate Burke won the primary with 44%; she’ll face Tim Benn, who finished second with 37%.

In the South district, council member Breean Beggs won nearly 55% of the vote in a four-way race. He’ll face Andy Dunau, who won 24%.

spokesmanreview.com

Spokane County has one of Washington’s most well-established conservation futures programs. It’s a taxpayer-approved and funded program that allows the county to buy environmentally-sensitive lands to preserve them and allow the public to enjoy them.

There are about 7,800 acres set aside all over the county, including the recently-purchased Holy Names parcel along the Spokane River, just to the north of Spokane Falls Community College.

spokesmanreview.com

A pile of bills still remains on Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for his consideration.

Among the list that Inslee signed into law last week is one that will allow counties to spend more of their conservation futures tax money on maintenance and operations. That tax is authorized by taxpayers to allow counties to buy environmentally-sensitive parcels from private landowners.

Inland Journal, April 13, 2017

Apr 14, 2017

Inland Journal for April 13, 2017

  • Steve Jackson reports on Spokane County emergency communications ballots measure
  • Spokane city library ballot measure
  • Interview with Idaho Sen. Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint) about Governor Butch Otter's veto of the repeal of the state grocery sales tax
  • A new public campaign to promote smoking cessation, featuring interviews with two former smokers
  • Heart attacks; an interview with Spokane cardiologist Dr. Brad Batkoff

Poor Air Quality Rampant in Spokane Area

Aug 3, 2015

The air quality index in the Spokane region spiraled upward toward hazardous levels Sunday as wildfire smoke from as far away as Lake Chelan drifted over the area. 

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In Spokane there are three city council seats up for election. In district two the winner will replace Mike Allen, who has finished his term. The candidates are LaVerne Biel, Lori Kinnear, and John Waite, each having some experience with city council elections.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Fire officials are hoping citizens will leave fireworks up to professionals this hot weekend. They are outright banned in state parks and 13 counties like Spokane, Franklin, Okanogan, San Juan, and Yakima. Leaders in Spokane Tuesday shared reasons to obey local bans.

Fire Districts Collaborate to Speed Up Response Time

Jun 15, 2015
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Firefighters will respond faster to fires and medical emergencies thanks to a new countywide collaboration. Fire departments representing Spokane, Spokane Valley, and county districts 8 and 9 will serve across borders.

Spokane County’s sales and use tax, which funds the jail, expires this year. The board of county commissioners plans to renew the tax through a ballot measure, but is stuck in debate over when to introduce it. The disagreement may hinge on commissioner opinions of STA’s tax proposal, set for April.

Commissioner Shelley O’Quinn said this week she supports putting the tax on the April ballot. But colleague Al French advocated for the August ballot, citing cost reasons.

Al French campaign website; Mary Lou Johnson

The battle for Spokane county commissioner matches an incumbent republican who has also served on the Spokane City Council with an attorney who is a newcomer to politics. Al French has been on the county commission for one term. Also a veteran of the Spokane City Council, French has been an investment consultant and real estate developer.

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