Spokane Secures Funding Agreement for Encampment Cleanup

Erin Hut, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Monday, March 25, 2024 at 9:32 a.m.

The City of Spokane has reached an agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) to designate the Division/Browne corridor from Sprague to I-90 as a priority encampment zone under the state’s Right-of-Way Encampment Resolution Program (ROW ERP).

This designation of a portion of Highway 395 will allow the City of Spokane the flexibility to utilize new and existing unspent funding to address the serial encampments in the corridor. The City anticipates a $4 million appropriation of ROW ERP funds, which is in addition to the remaining $2.5 million in unspent funds from a previous allocation. This new agreement is in addition to the funding agreement with WSDOT for city gateway cleanup.  

Work to connect unhoused neighbors to services and to clean up litter and graffiti began Monday morning. As has been the case with past ROW ERP activities in Spokane and around the state, outreach teams are being deployed to navigate folks to resources that best fit their needs.

Simultaneously and upon the recommendation of law enforcement and code enforcement, Mayor Brown has directed city staff to remove the fencing under the Browne St. viaduct. The fencing has proven to be an ineffective deterrent to illegal camping and has instead created public health and safety concerns.  

“We all want a clean, safe, and welcoming city. My administration is committed to approaches that actually work – we need housing and treatment solutions so that clean-up and enforcement can be effective. That’s what is so exciting about this partnership with WSDOT and Commerce. The state is bringing real housing resources to the table, and I am grateful for the collaborative effort with our agency partners,” Mayor Brown said.  

“This is a great step," said Rob McCann, Catholic Charities CEO. “To have local and state agencies coming together on this—it means people will have opportunities to get real help, and that existing services and businesses in the area can operate as effectively as possible.”