It’s a cruel, cruel summer now that the heat wave’s on in Spokane

CIVICS | How to help in the heat wave. Also, county commissioners to vote on moving forward with the Spokane Regional Homelessness Authority.
Apparently we mean Cruel Summer in the Bananarama way and not the TSwift way. (Photo illustration by Valerie Osier)

Welcome to CIVICS, where we break down the week’s municipal meetings throughout the Inland Northwest, so you can get involved and speak out about the issues you care about.  It’s also where you can find crucial information on helping your community, like in the heat wave starting today.

More boards and groups are meeting than last week, but Spokane City Council, the Urban Experience Committee and the Housing Action Subcommittee are all on break. 

This week, these groups will be meeting:

Plus, we have: 

RANGE Office Hours

It’s going to be a hot week, so come cool down at our favorite watering hole, Golden Handle, to chat and hang out with us! You’ll get to meet our new team members, Erin and Alyssa, and ask questions, tell us what we’re missing in our coverage and hang out.

Thursday, August 17 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm
Golden Handle Brewing Co.
154 S Madison St #100, Spokane, WA

Wave an unfortunate hello to our heat wave

A searing heat wave is arriving today and hanging out through Thursday. Cooling areas with hydration resources, restrooms and wifi connectivity can be found at six public libraries (Central, Shadle Park, Liberty Park, Hillyard, South Hill and Indian Trail), which are open 9am until 7pm. The Trent Resource and Assistance Center at 4320 E. Trent Ave. is also offering cool space, wraparound services, three meals a day, supplemental hydration resources and snacks for those seeking shelter during heat waves. 

Cool Spokane Mutual Aid will be out in the community supporting people during the heat. You can find their updated cooling locations here

If you want to help, here’s how:

  • Donate bottled water, Gatorade/Powerade, other caffeine-free hydration drinks, mini sunscreen products and single pack snacks to the City by contacting Sarah Nuss, Director of Emergency Management at
  • Donate new or unopened fans for homebound senior citizens to Meals on Wheels by dropping them off on location at 1222 W 2nd Avenue, or purchasing online for their Fan Drive.
  • Donate funds to Cool Spokane Mutual Aid via Yoyot Sp’qn’i.
  • Donate shelf-stable snacks, fresh fruit, hydration packets and powdered Gatorade, sunscreen, bandanas, and bandaids to Cool Spokane Mutual Aid by dropping them off on location at one of their cooling stations, locations can be found here.

School Bored

It’s summer and apparently no one wants to go back to school. The Spokane School Board has had a vacancy since mid-June, when Spokane School Board Director Riley Smith announced his resignation. Whoever is appointed to this position will serve until November 2025, and according to the Inlander, as of August 3, only one application had been submitted. If you’ve been considering going back to school, this could be your chance! Applications are due by 4:30 pm on August 16, so get those essays in. Application info can be found here.

Pool’s out, forever!* (*for the summer)

Spokane County’s aquatic facilities are in the last week of their season, so if you’re looking to get a swim in during the heatwave, it’s going to have to happen by Sunday, August 20, which is the last day of summer operation for all county pools, splash pads and aquatic facilities. Public swim sessions are available every day from 11 am to 2 pm and 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. If you want more info pool locations, hours, or amenities, you can find that here.

Spokane County Commissioners

Spokane County to vote on opening the books for the Regional Homeless Authority

County Commissioners will vote on a resolution to commit resources to the Spokane Regional Homeless Authority through October 15, including full support of leadership and staff, access to relevant county data on homelessness, affordable housing and behavioral health, access to accounting and legal staff, and continued meetings of the Elected and Leadership Committee. This comes after criticisms of the process from local providers and questions on the continued involvement of local megadonor Larry Stone.  

Financial assistance for county courts

The state is funding positions across the state to help county court systems handle a backlog of drug possession and other substance use related cases. Spokane County commissioners will be voting to accept over $400,000 to fund a new deputy prosecutor to assist in repeat DUI offense cases, an appellate staff in the Prosecutor’s Office to assist drug in offense cases, and more money to support the Public Defender’s office with costs related to resentencing and/or vacating sentences for a backlog of defendants whose convictions or sentences are affected by the State v. Blake decision.

Sheriffs and school surveillance

Memorandums of understanding are on the agenda for 11 school districts in our region to partner with the county to give the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office access to school surveillance systems. Access will be limited to emergencies, which are defined as situations that pose an imminent risk to the safety, health or property of students, staff and occupants of the facilities, and maintenance access with written permission of the superintendent. The Sheriff’s Office will also be able to access records for criminal investigations, with a subpoena, and for other reasons with approval of building principals. These contracts will last through the 2027-28 school years.

Agenda here
Tuesday, August 15 at 2 pm.
Public Works Building
1116 W Broadway, Spokane, WA
Commissioner’s Conference Room, First Floor

Liberty Lake City Council

Potholes or public taxes

The city of Liberty Lake will hold a public hearing on August 15 to get feedback about a proposed 0.1% sales tax for street maintenance. The new tax is expected to generate $675,000 each year and would replace (or at least reduce) an existing 3% utility tax that generated $915,000 for street maintenance in 2022. City council plans to vote on the new tax in September. It won’t appear on ballots because 0.1% is the maximum tax the city council can pass without voter approval. So if you’re a Liberty Laker who feels strongly about higher sales taxes or getting potholes fixed, the August 15 public hearing may be your last chance to have your voice heard. 

Agenda here
Tuesday, August 15 at 7 pm.
Liberty Lake City Hall
22710 E Country Vista Dr, Liberty Lake, WA
Virtual attendance here.

Spokane Airport Board

Thin agenda

The airport board is keeping it tight with their agenda that has no explanations for the actions they plan to take, just a schedule that includes approving payments for construction at Felts Field, buying a new F-150 for airport police officers and a construction contingency for the West Terminal Expansion. If any of these actions included competitive bids or other public processes there’s no details being shared in this agenda.

Agenda here (once posted)
Thursday, August 17 at 9 am.
Airport Event Center
9211 W. McFarlane Road, Spokane
The meeting is also virtual on Zoom here

Bicycle Advisory Board

Keep on scootin’

The Bicycle Advisory Board will be getting an update on Spokane’s contract with Lime, the company best known for its electric scooters and e-bikes around town. The contract, originally signed in 2019, has been extended to November 2023, according to the agenda packet. Conditions of the contract with Spokane say that Lime must maintain a fleet of 50 bikes in the Downtown Business Improvement District and the University District daily, as well as make investments in the city’s equity initiatives. 

What isn’t in the contract, or apparently agreed upon, is who’s responsible for fishing scooters out of the river.

Agenda here
Tuesday, August 15 at 6 pm.
Council Briefing Center, City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201
To join virtually click here.

Spokane Public Library Board of Trustees

Agenda here 
Tuesday, August 15 at 4:30pm.
Liberty Park Library
402 S. Pittsburg St., Spokane
Virtual attendance here

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