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7,500 Petition To Put Downtown Project To Voters City Says Ordinance Cannot Be Repealed Because Of Emergency Status

A citizens group opposing the city of Spokane’s involvement in the redevelopment of River Park Square has gathered more than 7,500 signatures in a petition drive to force a public vote.

Priorities First submitted the signatures to the city clerk’s office Tuesday.

Only 4,700 signatures - or 10 percent of the number of voters from the last municipal election - are required for the City Council to consider the petition.

City Attorney James Sloane said the ordinance the group is attempting to repeal cannot be challenged by referendum because it was passed as an emergency measure.

However, a lawsuit filed by attorney Steve Eugster challenges the emergency aspect of the ordinance, among other issues.

The ordinance, passed unanimously by the City Council on Jan. 27, pledges city parking meter money to help pay expenses for River Park Square’s proposed parking garage if parking revenues fall short.

The garage would be part of the $100 million redevelopment project, which would include a new Nordstrom store, a 24-screen cinema and other shops and restaurants.

Construction is due to begin in April.

When the petitions were filed Tuesday, City Clerk Terry Pfister told the citizens group that the city would “take custody” of the signatures until the lawsuit is settled.

, DataTimes