Council Approves Changes to Chronic Nuisance Code to Address Problem Properties

Amber Waldref, City Council Member (District 1), (509) 625-6719,

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

The City Council voted this week to approve changes to the City’s Chronic Nuisance process. The revisions improve the process by which the Spokane Police Department responds to properties that are abandoned, where unsafe conditions exist, and where crime repeatedly occurs.

“These changes will empower the City to respond more quickly and effectively to nuisance houses, which will improve safety and quality of life in our neighborhoods. It will also hold banks accountable for leaving foreclosed homes empty,” said Councilmember Breean Beggs.

The desired outcome is to increase the City’s success in returning abandoned and chronic nuisance properties to productive use. “The goal is to resolve issues quickly and deter criminal activity as well as the deterioration of housing in our City,” stated Councilmember Amber Waldref. “I was pleased to sponsor these changes to provide better tools for our Neighborhood Conditions Officers and COPS volunteers.”

Matthew Folsom with Spokane Police’s Civil Enforcement Unit helped write the changes to the code. “These updates will enable the Neighborhood Conditions Officers to more effectively work with property owners, renters, and neighbors to ensure we have safe and healthy neighborhoods for everyone.”

Several changes made to the City’s Chronic Nuisance code include: amending the definition of “chronic nuisance property” to include a property with seven or more nuisance activities during any twelve month period; expanding the definition of “nuisance activity” to include a long list of activities such as possession of stolen property, identity theft, warrant arrests, & domestic violence; adding “any bank or financial institution” or lien holder to the definition of a “person in charge” of a property; adding the option of relocation assistance for residents.