SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Transportation has given 48 hours notice for a homeless camp to leave a lot near S. Freya Street and E. 2nd Avenue in Spokane. The lot is located just north of I-90.
The notice gives campers until noon on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, to pack up their tents and belongings and leave. A spokesperson for WSDOT said the people and tents are on state-owned property and are trespassing.
When asked what would happen when the deadline passes, Ryan Overton with WSDOT said they are “working with city code enforcement to determine next steps.”
This is the second notice that WSDOT has given the campers to leave. Back in December, people were given 72 hours' notice to vacate. That order expired and WSDOT did not act to remove the camp. Overton said at that time they worked with the homelessness advocacy group, Jewels Helping Hands, and informed them that the group would need to leave if there were safety concerns.
WSDOT said there are significant safety concerns at the site, including some raised by businesses in the area, according to Overton.
“We are very sensitive to neighbors, businesses in the surrounding area, and those at the camp,” Overton said. “The safety concerns are significant and now is the time to take action.”
On Facebook, Julie Garcia, executive director/founder for Jewels Helping Hands, said they will not be moving the camp.
“This is just a game at this point with people[’]s lives. This camp is done playing that,” Garcia posted. “There has been 0 police calls and 0 incidents. We will move when land is secured, until then they will need to come in and move us.”
Campers moved to the WSDOT land in December after they were told to leave space in front of Spokane City Hall. Campers set up tents outside of City Hall in protest of what they say is a lack of adequate shelter space.