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City lifts ban on concerts at Knitting Factory

Knitting Factory chief operation officer, Gregory Marchant, center, says he wasn't happy about how this week started, but is happy about how it's ending. Marchant, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub, left, and Spokane Mayor David Condon, right, have come to an agreement to improve safety after a shooting early Monday morning caused Straub to close the entertainment site in downtown Spokane, Wash.  They gathered outside the Knitting Factory for the announcement on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The Knitting Factory concert hall is back in business.

Spokane City officials lifted the entertainment license suspension after the concert hall’s management agreed to discuss changes that would help ensure the safety of its patrons.

“I’ve lifted my order … suspending the entertainment license of the Knitting Factory,” Police Chief Frank Straub said.

Straub yanked the license without consulting the city’s legal department, said City Attorney Nancy Isserlis, who noted Straub made the correct call after four people were injured in two separate shootings shortly after a concert ended at the Knitting Factory.

One of those shootings took place in a parking lot near the concert venue; the other occurred more than a mile away at 1712 N. Maple St

Mayor David Condon stood with Straub and Knitting Factory CEO Greg Marchant in announcing the agreement to work together to improve communication and security.

Condon noted that he took his wife on their first date seven years ago to a Bighead Todd concert at the concert hall, which then was named the Big Easy.

“We live in a community that strives to be the entertainment center, the retail center,” Condon said. “It is that collaborative approach with the business community that is key. People want a vibrant community. But we need to balance that with safety.”

Marchant expressed remorse for those who were injured in the shootings. The victims were “our guests. We take that very seriously.”

“I’m not happy with the way the week started,” Marchant said. “But I’m extremely happy with the way it ended.”

While the agreements haven’t been completely worked out, Straub said the main component will be better communication between the concert hall and police to make sure the department sends more resources to the downtown when events get out.

“This was an opportunity to call a time out and have thoughtful conversations about how do we all do our business,” Straub said. “I don’t think anyone can excuse the behavior of others who took violent actions that injured other people.”