Mayor Declares Emergency to Help Storm Response

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:04 p.m.

Mayor Nadine Woodward declared a civil emergency in the city following a windstorm that caused significant damage, including extended power outages, citywide, the City announced today.

The mayor’s “executive declaration of civil emergency or disaster” speeds up the process of accessing and deploying additional resources needed to clear and clean up debris that is impacting public safety. The order is limited to expenditures for emergencies “requiring the immediate preservation of order or public health, or for the restoration to a condition of usefulness of any public property which has been damaged or destroyed by accident, or for public relief from calamity.”

“Our neighborhoods suffered significant impact during the windstorm that left a path of destruction,” Woodward said. “Unfortunately, the devastation adds to the things our neighbors, friends, loved ones, and business owners have already been grappling with for nearly a year now. Speeding up the cleanup process is a small way for the city to show its support for a weary community.”

Damage assessments are still being compiled. Around 250 trees have been reported downed or significantly damaged on city streets and parks. Widespread outages also knocked out power to traffic control lights and some fire stations and disrupted city services that were operating with distributed workforces to meet COVID guidance. Power has since been restored to traffic signals and fire stations.

Woodward toured the city Wednesday afternoon to evaluate the damage. She made the determination to issue the emergency declaration based on consultation with city teams, input she received from community partners and members, and her observations after visiting several neighborhoods.

The declaration takes effect immediately and will remain in force until lifted. It is expected that storm cleanup will take weeks. City residents with a current utility bill can take debris to the Waste to Energy Facility free of charge beginning Friday, Jan. 15, and running through Saturday, Jan. 30. Solid Waste Collection will provide curbside clean green pickup the week of Jan. 18 for customers who subscribe to that service.

Storm cleanup information is available on the city’s website. Tree blocking roadways should be reported to 3-1-1. For trees entangled with power lines, please call Avista at 1-800-227-9187. (Answer “yes” when asked if you want to report an urgent issue.) If downed power lines pose an emergency, please call 9-1-1. Don’t approach downed power lines.