Here’s a brief recap of last week’s monthly Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting.
SPD Ombudsman Tim Burns presented an overview of his annual report (available in full from this page). Some broad stats: 218 complaints against the police department were filed last year; the City Council authorized the hiring of 26 additional officers, 220 body cameras, and a $1.3 million expenditure ($400,000 of which involves a state-of-the-art addition to the training academy). The body cameras can be expected to be put in action by September.
For the SPD crime report, Capt. Tracy Ponto-Douglas read statistics for the area between Garland and the Spokane River, and between Division and the Spokane River to the west; these were compared against this time last year. There was much discussion regarding squatters and transients camping on abandoned properties. She noted that this year a practice has been established to offer relocation services and counseling.
Ben Covino from the Lands Council spoke about the river toxins found in fish and sediments. A map of the Spokane River was provided, highlighting the areas where caught fish should not be eaten: mercury, arsenic and lead have made their way from mines in Idaho to the river in Spokane. The homeless, who often catch and eat river fish, are the most at risk, and are a target group for this education.
Thom Caraway and James Kashork from Project Hope, the organization that has partnered with the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council to operate the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market, shared some history about their organization. This year, 38 young people from the West Central and E-G neighborhoods are working each weekday morning until noon for 10 weeks and participating in job training. Project Hope has operated the West Central Marketplace for the past seven years, and has continually been finding ways to improve their scope and efficiency. Technicalities were discussed about how to make the operation of the EGFM fit within the nonprofit mission of Project Hope, and ways to involve the youth. There were no objections to proceeding with this action item.
The annual Summer Potluck will be held at Emerson Park on Wednesday, August 13. The potluck will start at 6pm, and the EGNC meeting at 7pm.
Voting members held a discussion regarding whether to hold the EGNC meeting on July 9 or to skip it as per recent tradition. The motion to skip the July meeting carried.
District 3 City Councilman Steve Salvatori is resigning and moving to Dallas for business purposes. The City Council will appoint a replacement according to protocol.
Eline Helm spoke about the second annual Concert in the Park, which will join forces with this year’s return of Summer Parkways on Friday, July 18. We do need our own insurance, but not a permit. A total of $550 is needed, and we have $370 available — in other words, we need donors!
John Vlahovich spoke about tax increment financing money and Kendall Yards. The committee expects to have approximately $117,000 available for the year; $150,000 was set aside to go towards the Monroe Street improvements as matching money that the City will need to put up in order to use $3 million. The grant will still require the approval of the Transportation Department. One proposal is to make the traffic light on Montgomery and Monroe remain green to north/south traffic, except when a pedestrian pushes the crossing button.
Amy McLean reported on an issue with Avista and the use of smart meters. She mentioned that there have been reports on their health and safety risks.
Laura Schlangen read the June report of the Corbin Senior Activity Center. The WalkAlong and the Golf Scramble events were successful. There is not yet a date for the van delivery. A car theft took place mid-day in the parking lot, and the car was later found abandoned. The center’s biggest fundraiser, the Munch & Mingle Auction, is scheduled for Saturday, September 27. Please attend and donate if you can. The Henderson floor will be redone this month, and there is a new “This & That” discussion group.
Jay Cousins reported on the Community Assembly, which, in a nutshell, is the neighborhood’s representative at City Hall. Support for the Safe Streets initiative, spearheaded by Councilwoman Candice Mumm, was passed unanimously by the CA.