NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane Arena closes for summer reno; SPD wants to use civil forfeitures for new tools.

click to enlarge NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane Arena closes for summer reno; SPD wants to use civil forfeitures for new tools.
The Spokane Arena's getting some upgrades.

The biggest concerts of this summer will not be happening at Spokane Arena. Instead, the Arena is closing for the season after this weekend's Gonzaga graduation ceremonies to undergo a $10 million renovation. (Strangely, one event that will still take place is a two-day monster truck show in late June.) It won't be a huge aesthetic overhaul for patrons but will soup up the overall facilities. More seats will be added via a new retractable system, plus there will be an overhaul of the suites and locker rooms, and a new freight elevator. Doing the work in summer was necessary to accommodate the Spokane Chiefs' season. The goal is to have all improvements finished before Jelly Roll's visit on Aug. 30. (SETH SOMMERFELD)


In Washington, police are allowed to seize property from people if they believe it was related to a crime. The seized items are typically auctioned off, and the state government takes 10% of the proceeds, while the police department keeps the rest. The process is called civil forfeiture. In recent years, the Spokane Police Department has seized cars, bullets, gold coins, a printer, a flatscreen monitor, a drill and other random items. The department's forfeiture fund has about $724,000. On Monday, police asked the Spokane City Council to authorize using $510,000 of the forfeiture funds on various departmental purchases. The list includes three new undercover cars; a scanner that captures 360-degree models of crime scenes; training for drone operators; air purifiers to protect officers from fentanyl powder; and a technology called Cellebrite that unlocks cellphones by bypassing passwords. The department has contracted with Cellebrite for several years. When asked about civil liberties concerns on Monday, Assistant Police Chief Mike McNab told City Council members that the department only uses the technology in "very serious circumstances" involving risk of violence. "It's a very high standard," McNab said. "The officers can't do this on their own, they have to do this with the oversight of a prosecutor." (NATE SANFORD)

It Happened Here: Expo '74 Fifty Years Later @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Jan. 26
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