NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane's ciclovía lives on and more

Plus, a truce is called over Camp Hope; and a social media spat at Spokane City Hall

click to enlarge NEWS BRIEFS: Spokane's ciclovía lives on and more
Young Kwak photo
The Spokane Parks Foundation will run the annual bike event.

Last year, we reported on the death of SpokeFest, and how the collapse of Spokane's annual bike ride spelled doom for its sister event, Summer Parkways. One idea we floated in a cover story about making Spokane better for people on bikes ("Biketown," Sept. 29, 2022) was to have the city run a yearly "ciclovía" event — where some streets are temporarily closed to cars but open to people on foot, bike, skateboard, etc. — like ciclovías are in dozens of other cities around the world. This would help avoid the biggest cost and headaches of Summer Parkways, which come with securing the proper permits. Well, it's kind of happening. Last week, the Spokane Parks Foundation said it would run Summer Parkways following the formal dissolution of SpokeFest. The foundation isn't technically part of the city, but it serves as the nonprofit, fundraising arm for the region's parks departments. "The Summer Parkways event is a great fit for our mission, and we are excited to take the reins from SpokeFest to ensure that Summer Parkways will continue into the future," said Kevin Hennessey, the foundation's board president, in a statement. The event, as usual, will be held on the summer solstice, June 21. (NICHOLAS DESHAIS)


For months, city and county officials in Spokane repeatedly clashed with the state over the East Central homeless encampment known as Camp Hope, which has sat on land occupied by the Washington state Department of Transportation since December 2021. But last week, the conflict surrounding Camp Hope showed signs of winding down, as state and local officials reached agreements to drop their respective lawsuits. The first truce came Tuesday, when Spokane County agreed to drop the abatement lawsuit they filed against WSDOT in an effort to clear the camp. A few days later, the city reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by a group of camp residents and a nonprofit that had been suing in federal court to stop a looming sweep. In a statement, Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said the city "will continue our ongoing attempts to work with the property owner on a plan to remedy the situation before seeking court action." Woodward said the city's plans to work with the state to finish housing camp residents and to "restore the neighborhood that has been impacted." The camp is also shrinking fast: from more than 600 people over the summer to a recent estimated count of just 138. (NATE SANFORD)


Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward wasn't happy about the Spokane Young Democrats' social media posts attacking her plans to fight homelessness, says City Council member Zack Zappone. So she took action. Zappone's legislative aide was Jeff Gunn, who led the Democratic group. But when Zappone and Gunn met with Woodward in December, he says, she issued an ultimatum. "She said, 'I don't know if we can continue to meet if these posts continue, especially next year,'" Zappone says. But Woodward says the problem with the social media post wasn't that it was critical, but that it was based on a falsehood. "It criticized me for running on a 'platform of solving homelessness in six months,' yet I 'am now responsible for the biggest homeless encampment in the state of Washington,'" Woodward recalls. "It was a lie." Woodward never promised to solve homelessness in six months. But as Gunn pointed out, if Woodward was following his social media that closely, she would have noticed that the post was made before he became chair. The post was removed, but Zappone was bothered. "I told her, "I'm an elected official who represents a third of the city, and you're going to stop working with me because of a post on social media?'" (DANIEL WALTERS) ♦

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