Recap of the September 2015 E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

This is a recap of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting that took place on Wednesday, September 9.

In response to concerns about an increase in crime, Officer Tracy Ponto of the Spokane Police Department addressed neighborhood crime statistics over the last month. The reports include West Central as well parts of North Hill, so there is no distinction from Emerson-Garfield, but they do indicate some downward trends. Sexual assault is down this month. Commercial robbery is down, and robbery of a person is slightly down as well. Domestic violence has seen a year-on-year decrease. Total property crimes have shown a decrease of 16% from last month, and 9.56% from this time last year.

As for incidents of concern, there was a drive-by shooting on W Euclid, which was suspected to have targeted the wrong house. There was also a report of an elderly couple’s home being booby-trapped by an intruder who had settled in their garage.

To report squatters in vacant or abandoned houses, the Office of Code Enforcement is reachable at (509) 625-6083. For post-crime calls, call CrimeCheck at (509) 456-2233. When witnessing a crime in progress, please call 911. Officer Ponto stressed that reporting crimes will influence the future patrolling of an area.

Fulcrum's Ash St. Workforce Training Station. Photo: Spokane Journal of Business

Fulcrum’s Ash St. Workforce Training Station. Photo: Spokane Journal of Business

Judith Gilmore from the Fulcrum Institute reported on recent progress at the Ash Street Workforce Training Station, to which the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council has allocated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. All three of the one-bedroom affordable apartments have now been completed and rented. The retail area is finished and tenants are being recruited to fill all three training bays. The store, called The Station, will have a beverage bar and a retail counter. There are 80 adults (parents to some 59 children) from our neighborhood who are being serviced by the station.

Michael Cathcart, representing the Alliance to Protect Local Jobs, spoke on the subject of Proposition 1 on the upcoming November general election ballot. This is the fourth ballot measure in our area proposed by the same group, and none of the other three measures was successful. In response to some of the provisions of the proposed ballot measure, Cathcart said that employers who have as few as 150 full-time employees (or 300 half-time employees) would be required to pay a vague minimum wage (approximately $18.30/hour), which is higher than in any other city. If the city did not enforce the minimum wage, then the minimum wage would rise to $23/hour. The measure would also prohibit wage increases based on experience or seniority, which may reduce retention. Furthermore, there is also no definition of the effort, skill, or responsibility used in its language, which could lead to frivolous lawsuits.

The action item on the agenda was the reallocation of the $17,865 in 2015 CDBG funds that had previously been allocated towards a bus shelter on North Monroe. It was proposed that the council direct $10,000 towards Fulcrum and $7,865 toward the West Central Community Center, two of the EGNC’s top priorities as determined by vote during the August 2015 meeting. This would give the council an additional $17,865 to allocate for the 2016. The motion was passed unanimously with no abstentions.

The two traffic-calming requests that were submitted by the neighborhood council in February were addressed. The City responses were included among the meeting agenda.

The future of the North Monroe Street revitalization was broached and discussed. There were questions over the delay in construction until 2018.

Laura Schlangen reported that the September 19 auction at the Corbin Senior Activity Center is sold out. The Poker Walk around Corbin Park will begin on October 1.

The replacement of the current pedestrian Post Street Bridge was reported on by Carlie Hoffman, who is Emerson-Garfield’s representative on the Pedestrian Traffic and Transportation (PeTT) Committee.

Jonathan Martinez reported on the past several meetings regarding landlord and tenant issues. The role of City of Spokane Code Enforcement was also discussed; our neighborhood’s representative is Officer Chappie. Additional attendance on the rental property committee is encouraged.

Materials for the Sep 9 E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

After a relaxing summer of concerts, potlucks and markets, the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council is back in full swing for its September meeting tomorrow (WednesdaySeptember 9) at 6pm in the Corbin Senior Center (827 W Cleveland).

The tentative agenda includes news on the autumn Residential Tree Program (free trees!), Community Development Block Grants, traffic-calming projects and the rash of citywide crime, plus a guest speaker and the Alliance to Protect Local Jobs explaining why his group is opposing Prop1 on the November ballot. Judith Gilmore of the Fulcrum Institute will also be providing a brief update on the Ash Street Workforce Training Station. This is all fairly meaty and interesting stuff, so please make a point to attend, get informed, and be heard.

The EGNC welcomes newcomers! Whether you’ve just moved into the neighborhood or you’ve lived in Emerson-Garfield your entire life, we encourage you to drop in and see what the neighborhood council is all about. The EGNC is nonpartisan and maintains a friendly, open-minded atmosphere regardless of individual political affiliation.

If you’ve got a tablet or a smartphone, please help keep our printing expenses low and download the materials as PDFs:

[EDIT: One member has helpfully sent a link to the current CompStat figures from the Spokane Police Department, which should be useful when discussing crime with Capt. Traci Ponto at the September 9 meeting. Download them as a PDF here.]

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow. If you’d like to RSVP on Facebook and proclaim your attendance to the world, please do so on the meeting’s event page. You can also do so on Nextdoor.

Corbin Senior Center Auction (Sep 19)

The Corbin Senior Activity Center is holding its 13th annual Munch and Mingle Gala & Auction on Saturday, September 19. It’s the center’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

This year’s theme is The Roaring Twenties. Anyone who shows up suitably attired or ready to dance the Charleston will be entered into a prize drawing.

Doors open at 3pm so you can start browsing all the silent auction items. Dinner is at 4:30pm, and that’s also when the serious bidding starts. Both dinner and appetizers are included in the ticket price.

Corbin auction 2015

Tickets are $30 per person in advance, $35 at the door. You can reserve tables of eight for $215 and tables of ten for $270. To book your tickets, call (509) 327-1584 and ask for Christa on extension 10.

Craftwalk at the E-G Farmers’ Market (Sep 18)

The second annual Craftwalk at the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market is scheduled for FridaySeptember 18. It will run concurrent with the market (i.e., 3-7pm).

Not familiar with Craftwalk? This is a special event where the market welcomes specialty non-food vendors of all kinds. Local artists and crafters with unique handmade items such as quilts, knitwear, upcycled goods, jewelry, clothing, hats, sculpture, soaps and pottery will line the sidewalk around the perimeter of the lot.

Craftwalk 2015

Because Craftwalk complements the usual market, that means there will be music, a full range of produce and baked goods, and authentic Korean food to eat there or take home.

Craftwalk is a great opportunity to pick up some cool items for the back-to-school season — or even get a head start on some of your Christmas shopping!

All artists and crafters are invited to take part. Booth spaces are only $10. To register, fill out the market’s online vendor application and note “Craftwalk” in any fields that aren’t applicable.

It was great to see so many crafters from right here in Emerson-Garfield taking part in Craftwalk last year.

Revitalization at Corner of Washington and Maxwell

Community Frameworks is constructing a new block of affordable apartment housing called West 315 in the organization’s old office location at the corner of N Washington and W Maxwell.

Along with other recent developments such as the relocation of the Women and Children’s Free Restaurant, this could help revitalize a traditionally overlooked corner of Emerson-Garfield that has begun to see renewed interest and activity.

The latest rendering of the new building is pictured below with the current view of the location (courtesy of Google Maps) provided beneath it.

West 315

West 315 redevelopment

West 315 old

Current view of the West 315 location

They anticipate breaking ground in mid-September. In the meantime, they’re looking for additional funding to pave Calispel and make related improvements.

A representative from Community Frameworks will probably be speaking at the October meeting of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council (EGNC) to provide an update on the construction and other topics of interest.

It’s worth noting here, too, that Community Frameworks was considerate enough to reach out to the EGNC during the preliminary planning phase to say they were trying to develop in accord with the broader ambitions of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Action Plan (PDF) and solicit input from the council along those lines. At each subsequent stage they checked back in and met with EGNC reps to discuss their progress and incorporate feedback. It was a show of respect that was greatly appreciated (and, we hope, fully reciprocated) by the neighborhood.


Recap of the August 2015 E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

Typically the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council holds a very casual meeting with a light agenda after the neighborhood’s Summer Potluck, and this year was no different. However, owing to shifts in the annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) deadlines, the agenda included preliminary decisions on how the neighborhood intended to allocate its $56,299 for 2016.

Here’s a brief recap of some of the discussion and decisions from the August 12, 2015 neighborhood council meeting. (Click here for a photo gallery from the potluck.)


Because the proposal due August 31 only needed to be an indication of the neighborhood’s interest in particular projects, the allocations were discussed in broad terms. The CHHS “ground rules” this year are that the minimum amount to be allocated to each project, aside from sidewalk funding, is $10,000. That total can be a combination of multiple neighborhoods. Two of the four projects that appealed to voting members involved such cooperation with another area.

The project with the most interest was a collaboration with the North Hill Neighborhood for the vacant property on North Monroe near Cora Street. Trees and shrubs could be planted in order to beautify the unused land. Funding from other sources could cover irrigation, neighborhood gateway signs, and other planting or beautification initiatives.

The second proposal of interest involved the Fulcrum Institute‘s Ash Street Workforce Training Station. The neighborhood council allocated money to the Lands Council for the training station last year, which would serve to train former inmates for work, potentially reducing recurring crime in our neighborhood. This particular project would be partnering with Chief Garry Park Neighborhood for the third training bay.

The third project voted on was the garage or ADA ramp for the West Central Community Center. As a substantial portion of the center’s clients are residents of Emerson-Garfield, this project was of particular interest to the voting members.

The fourth project voted on was for public safety improvements for Emerson Park. Improvements could involve lighting and a perimeter sidewalk. Transients seem to be a strong problem along the perimeter of the park. Increased traffic, such as walking dogs in a loop, might be a deterrent to those who occasionally sleep in the park.

There were other projects that were discussed, but which received no official votes. One such project was the addition of new sidewalks within the neighborhood. This was not chosen as an official project, because Emerson-Garfield is always in need of new sidewalks. We can use the remainder of the CDBG funding for sidewalk projects, and we may also use traffic calming funds for sidewalks.

Another topic of interest was North Monroe revitalization. This road project has been delayed until 2018, so it would not be ideal to allocate funding that would need to be used within the 2016 calendar year. The neighborhood council still has interest in channeling significant funding this project, but it would be best to use this funding closer to the time of the revitalization.

One last topic was SNAP home repair. Because there is no longer a 2-to-1 matching of funds, members did not rank it as highly.

This was followed by reports from various committees. The first report was regarding Corbin Senior Activity Center. Laura Schlangen reported that the Department of Commerce informed the center that the State Capital Budget includes an appropriation of $300,000 for their elevator project. It will cost more than that, but these funds will need to be used soon.

On Saturday, September 19 the center will be having its annual auction dinner. The cost is $30 in advance. She encouraged donations and attendance.

Barb Biles reported on the Land Use Committee. The cell-tower moratorium was extended to October. Notification must be given in advance to occupants within a wider radius of 600 feet. There is also an effort to make the cell-phone towers aesthetically pleasing.

Carlie Hoffman, the neighborhood’s representative on the Pedestrian Traffic and Transportation (PeTT) Committee, talked about how it is difficult to identify sidewalks needing repairs. They desire more participation from residents in identifying those projects.

Carlie also encouraged everyone to view and make use of the new interactive Spokane transportation maps that have a great deal of visual info on transportation conditions.

Megan Kennedy reported on the West Quadrant Tax Increment Financing (WQTIF) Committee, which she is hopeful to become an official member of in the coming months. The last meeting the committee did not have a quorum, so it involved more casual conversation, but Megan learned that the development of North Monroe was delayed until 2018 primarily because the City wanted to take the time to weigh options as to how best implement the improvements based in part on continued feedback from stakeholders and in part on what they learn from other corridor improvement processes in the meantime.

The last report prior to the conclusion of the meeting concerned the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers came through on July 31 to see how the market is accepting Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers  to encourage a healthier diet for low- and moderate-income families.

Photos from the 2015 Neighborhood Summer Potluck

Here’s a gallery of photos of the recent neighborhood Summer Potluck that took place in Corbin Park on August 12, 2015. We’re grateful to Jonathan Martinez for taking time out to snap and send them!

Tomorrow we’ll be posting a recap of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting that followed the potluck.