NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs exits

Plus, the city gets two new bike connections; and Brown hits Woodward on city budget troubles.

click to enlarge NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs exits
Erick Doxey photo
Breean Beggs.

It's the end of an era. On Monday evening, Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs presided over his final council meeting, closing out four years of leadership defined by consensus-seeking and reform efforts. Beggs, who joined the council in 2016, said in early March that he would be stepping down, and in May he was appointed to be a Spokane County Superior Court judge by Gov. Jay Inslee. Next week, council members are expected to elevate City Council member Lori Kinnear as interim council president until a new president is elected in November's general election. During the emotional final meeting, Kinnear presented Beggs with a salutation highlighting some of his accomplishments on the council, which include strengthening the police ombudsman's office, co-leading the city's pandemic response, sponsoring a law making post-prison employment easier, codifying community court, and improving residential rental policies. "We love this city and every person who lives in it," Beggs said, his voice cracking as he accepted the salutation. "We often disagree on the very specific solution, but we all agree that together we're stronger." (NATE SANFORD)


Spokane continues to get new infrastructure for people on bikes. Last month, the city of Spokane installed a new bike ramp on the Maple Street stairs, which connects the sidewalk on the north side of the Maple Street Bridge to the West Central neighborhood. "Safety is a major motivator for choosing this location," Colin Quinn-Hurst, a planner with the city, said in a city video about the ramp. People on bikes and scooters end up darting into car traffic on Maple due to the lack of a route below the Broadway Avenue overpass for anyone who isn't in a car. The ramp — or "runnel" — was paid for by a city user fee on Lime bikes and scooters. And this week, the state Transportation Department officially opened the rebuilt Trent Avenue Bridge, which comes with a new section of multiuse path going under the eastside of the bridge, another connection for the Centennial and Ben Burr trails, and the Iron Bridge. (NICHOLAS DESHAIS)


Standing outside Spokane City Hall on Monday afternoon, former state commerce director and mayoral candidate Lisa Brown accused Mayor Nadine Woodward of mismanaging the city budget and putting Spokane in "the worst fiscal situation it has been in for decades." Brown stood next to a printed graph showing the city's unallocated reserve balance nose-diving from $28 million in 2020 to negative $9.2 million today. "Mayor Woodward has dug us a deep hole, and she's still digging," Brown said. Inside City Hall, City Council members were preparing to pass a series of special budget ordinances designed to course-correct this year's looming budget shortfalls. Council members have spent recent months saying they were increasingly alarmed about the city's finances, pointing to ballooning police overtime and homelessness spending as some of the primary culprits. After Brown's news conference, Woodward told KREM that Brown was forgetting about the impact of pandemic lockdowns on city revenue, and she pointed to the unpredictable nature of homelessness grant funding. (NATE SANFORD)

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