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Spokane council votes down zoning change tied to proposed homeless shelter

Community members raised concerns while city council members deliberated on an interim zoning ordinance.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane residents voiced their concerns of the East Trent homeless shelter during today's city council meeting.

These concerns were raised while city council members deliberated on an interim zoning ordinance. The motion ultimately did not pass, as less than five council members voted for the ordinance.

While council president Breean Beggs voted in favor of the ordinance, other council members, including Betsy Wilkerson, believed there was not enough information or planning to follow through on zoning.

"After going a little bit deeper, to me, it's part of a three-legged stool about our housing issue and our shelter issue," Wilkerson said. "It's not just the zones. The council has yet to see the proposal for the rental estates."

Spokane Community College President Kevin Brockbank also voiced his opposition to the emergency ordinance, saying that the community college was never called or made aware of the shelter on East Trent.

 "I think there are some major oversights here in placing it where it currently is and some things that have not been vetted very well," Brockbank said.

Brockbank made note of the shelter being on a bus line within daily campus activities, as well as the early childhood development center.

Jewels Helping Hands founder Julie Garcia also voiced her concerns, stating that council needed to offer better analysis of locations when determining shelters for the homeless.

Ultimately, residents cited a lack of communication and oversights from Mayor Nadine Woodward and her selection of the shelter.

"There is never a perfect location," Mayor Woodward said in a previous interview. "There are always people who will have concerns and there will always be some pushback, but I think this location really meets the needs that we're trying to address."

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