March 14, 2013 in Washington Voices

Browne’s Addition council schedules revote

Panel to decide June 5 whether to support youth program plan
By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Browne’s Addition Neighborhood Council has scheduled a revote on whether to spend $37,000 in community development funds to help move the Peaceful Valley Community Center youth program to All Saints Lutheran Church.

The first vote on this issue was held at the end of a chaotic Feb. 6 meeting where the council decided against supporting the move.

That vote has now been nullified. At the March 6 meeting the council announced “no vote” discussions of the youth program issue at its regular April 3 and May 1 meetings, followed by a new vote June 5.

At each meeting, 40 minutes will be dedicated to testimony regarding the youth program followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Speakers may speak for two minutes and must sign up before the meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

Chairwoman Katherine Fritchie said this seemed like the best solution for everyone involved.

The meetings are in the Gilkey room at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, which can accommodate 49 people.

Youth center supporters claim that prevents people from participating in the meeting, and that the neighborhood council should pick a larger venue. The Lutheran church is the only other space – outside of the MAC – in Browne’s Addition that could hold a larger group.

Fritchie said the council would not change meeting locations because that confuses people, and it would definitely not have a meeting at All Saints.

“The church doesn’t seem like an impartial place to have these meetings,” Fritchie said, adding that an upstairs area at the MAC would hold 80 people.

Anticipating a large crowd at the March 6 meeting, a note had been placed on the MAC’s front doors saying they would be locked when capacity was reached. They were locked at 6:45 p.m.

It appears only one person, former City Council president Joe Shogan, was left temporarily standing outside.

Shogan is a longtime supporter and co-developer of the expansion of the youth program at the Peaceful Valley Community Center. For the expansion to happen the youth program must find a more spacious location and that’s how All Saints Lutheran Church got involved.

Shogan, who was known for adhering to strict protocol at City Council meetings, interrupted the neighborhood council toward the end of the meeting.

Stepping forward he raised a hand and said, “Madam chair, a moment of your time please,” and proceeded to announce that he owns property in Browne’s Addition and expects to join future neighborhood council meetings.

“Two more meetings and I can vote here,” Shogan said.

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