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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County looks to overhaul park rules

If you or your pet does their business on Spokane County park property in unauthorized areas, and if you haven't brought cleaning supplies for the occasion, expect to run afoul of new rules.

At a meeting Tuesday night, Spokane County Commissioners will take testimony on a new set of proposed park regulations, the first major overhaul of those rules since the 1970s. Among them:

It is unlawful for any person to ... blow, spread, or place any nasal or other bodily discharge, or spit, urinate, or defecate on the floors, walls, or any portion of any park or facility, except directly into the particular fixtures provided for that purpose;

Read the proposed ordinances, up for public comment at a hearing to be held Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Spokane County Commissioners Hearing Room, 1026 W. Broadway Ave., here: New Spokane County Parks codes.

The new rules codify all park regulations under a single section of county codes, and in addition to explicitly forbidding visitors from leaving pet droppings and relieving themselves outside public toilets, the rules protect plant life, establish rules for alcohol sale and consumption and specifically state when a visitor needs to attain a permit for a specific activity.

"This is something that we've been working on for the better part of eight years," said Doug Chase, director of Spokane County parks. 

The current codes regulating use of the parks were written in the 1970s, and addressed animals grazing on parkland and instituted a $1 fee to obtain a metal detection permit. Chase said the new code authorizes the Parks Department to change user fees for different activities at the discretion of park staff and the Spokane County Commission, as well as leaves the flexibility for future rules to govern activities that may become popular in years to come.

"It tries to take into account activities that may not have been popular back in the 1970s, like frisbee golf, for example," Chase said.

The new laws specifically ban fireworks from county property, without a permit, and allows park officials to set different hours for a specific park, rather than a hard deadline of 10 p.m.

"We’ve tried to really look at the needs of our park users and learn from the experience that we have," Chase said. 

Commissioners will take testimony on the proposed ordinances and then may vote as early as Tuesday evening on establishing the new rules.

Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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