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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Fire marshal clarifies occupancy limit at McMorris Rodgers’ Spokane office

FILE - Chud Wendle, then a staffer at Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers office, is handed a petition with 500 signatures asking the congresswoman stop trying to defund Planned Parenhood in September 2015. In back, supporters Jackie Vaughn, left and Marguerite Wright take a selfie with “Patient J,” a gender-neutral cut-out.  A two-person limit on visitors to McMorris Rodgers’ office applies only to the public waiting space at the front of the suite, Spokane Fire Marshal Mike Miller said last week. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

The two-person occupancy limit at Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ downtown Spokane office applies only to the waiting area at the front of the suite, the city’s fire marshal clarified last week.

“Two is basically just for the small waiting area, there at the reception desk,” said Mike Miller, whose deputy inspected the space late last month before a planned gathering of political activists. The fire marshal’s letter has been posted on the front window of the office, and prompted concerns from some visitors that their opportunity to speak to McMorris Rodgers or her staff was being limited by the policy.

Molly Drenkard, a spokeswoman for the congresswoman, reiterated in a phone call last week the decision to allow two unscheduled visitors into the office at a time enabled workers to meet directly with constituents and discuss their concerns.

Miller said such a decision, to meet with those visitors in the public space at the front of the office, is “totally at their discretion.” The maximum occupancy of the entire office suite is 30 people, including staffers, he said.

The congresswoman attended several public events in Walla Walla on Saturday, according to her staff.