Council Votes to Ratify Mayor's Executive Declaration of Emergency

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Thursday, June 6, 2024 at 1:15 p.m.

At a Special Legislative Session on Thursday, June 6, 2024, the City Council, in a unanimous vote, ratified the Mayor’s Executive Declaration of Emergency. This decisive action was taken to implement an integrated response to Spokane’s opioid crisis, with the understanding that technical changes would be made to clarify the specific emergency measures to be implemented under the order.  

“Council acknowledges the fentanyl and opioid crisis impacting both housed and unhoused populations in Spokane,” said Council President Betsy Wilkerson. “The Council agrees with the Mayor's recognition of the urgent need for a coordinated response to address this crisis.”

In March 2024, through resolution, the Council requested the Governor of Washington declare a state of emergency for the opioid and fentanyl crisis and coordinate local and state resources accordingly. The resolution also called for increased funding for peer support programs, better access to Naloxone, and education on prevention, intervention, and treatment.

The Mayor’s Executive Order was issued and filed with the City Clerk on June 4. The City Council’s action permits the Mayor to proceed with many of listed measures, including the use of opioid settlement funds that the City Council approved previously. Those funds will be used to establish a High-Utilizer, Complex Care initiative that aims to provide coordinated care and intensive case management for individuals dealing with opioid use disorder. Other measures permitted under the ratified declaration are the execution of short-term leases and other contracts intended to allow the City to take advantage of state funds for a temporary stabilization center, which will alleviate the impact of the opioid crisis at downtown gateways.

“I am grateful we are taking bold steps to address this public health crisis as it unfolds on our streets,” said Council Member Paul Dillon. “This emergency declaration will help us fast-track collaboration resources and open new opportunities to save lives.”

About the Spokane City Council
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