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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City cleans up large homeless camp in downtown Spokane

UPDATED: Tue., June 20, 2017

Crews clean up a homeless camp under the Maple Street Bridge on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Spokane. Bicycles, needles, baby strollers, furniture and a little red wagon were some of the items hauled away from the site. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Crews clean up a homeless camp under the Maple Street Bridge on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Spokane. Bicycles, needles, baby strollers, furniture and a little red wagon were some of the items hauled away from the site. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

City crews cleaning up a homeless camp underneath the Maple Street Bridge filled multiple trucks with everything from mattresses to bicycles Tuesday morning.

The cleanup was a joint effort by the city’s Code Enforcement, Bridge Operations department and the Spokane Police Department, said city spokesman Brian Coddington. It took nearly three hours to clean up the site on the south shore of the Spokane River even though the spot had been thoroughly cleaned a month ago, Coddington said.

“It had quite a bit of debris under there,” he said. “It did accumulate fairly quickly.”

Crews had to use a truck with a bucket at the end of an extendable arm to lift everything up the steep hillside. “It was quite a sizable encampment,” he said.

The Homeless Outreach Team visited the site twice in recent days to let the people living there know that a cleanup was coming, Coddington said. The hope is that they will access housing and programs available to the homeless, he said.

Cleaning up camps like that is an ongoing issue, Coddington said. The bridge crews routinely clean up small sites as they inspect bridges. “The goal is to keep debris from collecting underneath a bridge,” he said.

The city also hires a work crew from the Geiger Corrections Center to clean up downtown viaducts and underneath Interstate 90 six days a week.

“There’s an ongoing effort during the summer months to keep these areas clean and tidy,” Coddington said.

Anyone who spots an area that needs to be cleaned up is asked to call 311 to report it.

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