DSHS revokes license of Spokane Valley adult home over gun concerns


by KREM.com & Katie Utehs


Posted on September 20, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:58 AM

SPOKANE VALLEY-- A Spokane Valley man said the Department of Social and Health Services has revoked the license of his adult family home because he carries a concealed weapon and has a shotgun locked up in his room.  Soon six elderly people that live there may be looking for a new home.

Click here to read the DSHS investigation documents.
According to the DSHS investigation Spencer Lowell and his father failed to provide a safe adult family home.

Lowell has operated Valley Pines Retirement Home for the last three years with his father. He also carries a concealed weapon, a Smith and Wesson 380.

"We've violated no laws and I have all the proper permits to carry a concealed pistol," Lowell said.

On August 29th DSHS investigated Lowell and the adult family home which houses six elderly people.
The investigators were escorted by Spokane Valley Police Officers.

Lowell recorded the investigation on his cell phone camera.

On camera an investigator asked Lowell what kind of weapons Lowell has in the house.
Lowell replied  he keeps the shotgun in a locked safe in the caregiver's room and only he has access to it. Then at night when he sleeps he locks his pistol inside, too.

But according to documents given to us by Lowell and obtained through DSHS, the agency said he's not locking up the guns correctly.

Their investigators determined his actions display an inability to care for residents. The documents said Lowell's father as the provider “demonstrated that he lacked judgment, understanding and ability to oversee the operation”.   The documents also stated, “the provider failed to maintain a safe adult family home environment per the stated need for weapons on the premises for defense. Additionally the provider failed to ensure that all firearms on the premises were legal, or were locked and accessible only to authorized persons.”

DSHS released this statement to KREM 2 News through their media manager: "Our action to revoke the license of this adult family home is based on state laws intended to ensure the safety of six vulnerable adults who live there and to ensure that all firearms on the premise are safely locked away and accessible only to authorized persons. The issue is not gun rights, but safety for the residents being cared for in the home. The action is being appealed and will be resolved in an administrative hearings process."

KREM 2’s Katie Utehs asked Lowell about any previous citations. He said he has had several in the past but they were resolved and unrelated to the weapons. 

The state didn't mention any of the past citations as reasons for the current shutdown.