SPOKAN, Washington – Protesters gathered in downtown Spokane on Saturday, urging Mayor Nadine Woodward to demolish a fence the city erected under the Brown Street Viaduct a few weeks ago.
Earlier, Woodward said she had put up a fence to keep people from camping on the viaduct, which she said would also help remove rubbish and human waste.
The group also demanded that the city implement an adverse weather plan if the temperature drops too low or gets too hot.
“Fences need to be demolished. We need to build more sustainable housing. Housing, not fences, ”said Raven Love, who took part in the protest.
She said this protest and this issue are important to her because it is a matter of class and race.
“It’s important to me because I know people who have been on the streets, and I’m very lucky they didn’t die,” she said.
Since 2020, more than 200 people living on the streets have died, according to Time Health.
On Saturday, protesters fastened a tag with the names of those killed on the fence.
“No one should die on the street. No one should live on the streets, ”Love said.
Mayor Nadine Woodward says she agrees with the protesters, saying fencing is not a solution to homelessness.
“More shelters and more programs to help people solve problems that hinder their placement,” she said. “It simply came to our notice then. That’s where the focus is. “
Woodward says it’s hard to find a place to hide, whether it’s during an emergency or long-term shelter.
She said the city is now working to find both, but it’s hard when people don’t want it around.
“We just saw this game in the northeast of Spokane, where we thought we could activate the city’s property for temporary shelter, because we are working on something more long-term,” she said. “It didn’t go well. So we went back to the beginning, looking for temporary shelter. “
The Brown Street Viaduct Fence is a pilot project to keep the area clean. Ever since the fences went up, Woodward says she has heard from both sides about the good and bad qualities of fences. Woodward says that so far, for the most part, “it’s been a success.”
She said the number of Spokane police calls to service the viaduct had decreased after the fence was raised.
From January 28 to February 8, before the fence was raised, Spokane police had 24 calls to service the viaduct. After the fence was raised from February 9 to 28, nine calls were received.
“Nobody lives there, which is what we don’t want in our community for people to live under viaducts and live on the streets,” she said. “So far so good. We will make a re-assessment in a few weeks. “
Woodward says she will soon have news of the asylum, but did not name a date.
For protesters on Saturday, it is not yet fast.
“I believe that life is a right. Ladies are right. Survival is the right, ”Lyubov said.
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