Cooling Center Capacity Doubles On Governor's Order

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Friday, June 25, 2021 at 3:59 p.m.

The capacity for temporary City of Spokane funded and operated cooling space more than doubled with the lifting of social distancing requirements that have been in place during the pandemic.

Mayor Nadine Woodward announced plans for a scalable centralized cooling center in Riverfront Park beginning Saturday and the opening of Spokane Public Library space to anyone needing temporary relief from the heat in their neighborhoods. Woodward also encouraged the faith community to consider offering space to community members who need heat relief.

“We already had a thoughtful, flexible plan in place based upon existing guidance,” Woodward said. “Relaxing the distancing restrictions on cooling centers scales up our plans immediately.”

The multi-purpose rooms at the Looff Carrousel in Riverfront Park will open as a cooling center from 11 am to 7 pm beginning Saturday with a new capacity of 72 people and remain operational for the heatwave duration. Coca-Cola provided a pallet of bottled water donated by Desani to the cooling center. All Spokane Public Library locations are also available and can accommodate those who need relief from the extreme daytime temperatures. The Library will also open most locations on Sunday (6/27) and Monday (6/28) to provide additional access.

Additional contingencies for expansion to more than 250 total spaces have also been identified within Riverfront Park. The cooling plan, including capability for expansion, is based on actual usage and experience of the temporary Safer Air Center in September.

“There is a lot to consider and a multi-disciplinary City team has prepared a well-though-out plan that is capable of flexing with changes in demand and weather,” Woodward said.

That includes adding daily operation to most Spokane Public Library locations:

East Side, Hillyard, and Indian Trail

Tuesday 12 to 8 pm 

Wednesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm 

Sunday and Monday 11 am to 6 pm (minimal library services available)

South Hill

Monday and Tuesday 10 am to 8 pm 

Wednesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm 

Sunday 11 am to 6 pm

STA Plaza and Northtown Mall

Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm

Sunday and Monday closed

Governor Jay Inslee issued an order today removing pandemic limitations on the number of people served at publicly owned or operated and nonprofit cooling centers. Woodward has asked that all City partner shelters follow the order to increase their capacity for guests.

System-wide, 100 or so low-barrier shelter spaces and about 150 to 200 total have consistently been available since April 1 under COVID restrictions. In addition, the Cannon Street shelter has drop-in day space available and recently added an outdoor shade structure with picnic tables and benches. The shelter offers showers, restrooms, laundry, meals, and access to services.

House of Charity and The Way Out shelters offer day space to guests who checked in the night before. Both have been operating under that procedure as part of COVID protocols put in place last summer to reduce the spread of illness.

A City team is meeting daily, including over the weekend, to monitor changes in the weather and evaluate operational needs and adjustments.