As new warming shelters open in Spokane, city police have given campers in front of city hall notice to leave.
After 48 hours, police have the authority to enforce the order and make campers pack up.
City spokeswoman Marlene Feist says the police department posted notice of the city’s intent to enforce the Protecting Public Lands ordinance, which prohibits camping on public property.
The ordinance is different than the sit-lie ordinance, which prohibits people from sleeping on sidewalks and in doorways between 6 a.m. and midnight. That ordinance is still suspended until the city creates 200 new shelter spaces.
Homeless residents have been camping out in front of city hall for weeks to protest the lack of adequate shelter space in Spokane. In late November, demonstrators set up about two dozen tents in front of city hall.
In response, the city approved more beds for homeless residents.
Feist said the city will open an additional 60 beds on Friday at Salem Lutheran Church in the West Central Neighborhood. The city opened 40 beds at a warming center on West Cannon.
“We will have significant temporary overnight shelter spaces available for folks,” Feist said. “Separately, social service outreach workers have visited with individuals many times over the last few weeks to provide information on the availability of services and warming spaces.”
The city also approved additional warming center contracts at Open Doors and Women’s Hearth and Hope House, Feist said.