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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City Hall accepting applications to run East Central Community Center

Under an initiative that has now experienced nearly five years of legal review, city employees would be permitted to question anyone about their immigration status and share that information with federal authorities. Proponents say the measure would keep Spokane from becoming a “sanctuary city,” while opponents say the practice would promote racial profiling. The initiative was dealt another blow Tuesday, when appellate court judges in the state shot the initiative down as beyond the scope of state law. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Under an initiative that has now experienced nearly five years of legal review, city employees would be permitted to question anyone about their immigration status and share that information with federal authorities. Proponents say the measure would keep Spokane from becoming a “sanctuary city,” while opponents say the practice would promote racial profiling. The initiative was dealt another blow Tuesday, when appellate court judges in the state shot the initiative down as beyond the scope of state law. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Organizations interested in running Spokane’s East Central Community Center have until Monday to make their wishes known.

Letters of intent to apply for the job are due to City Hall by the beginning of next week, after the Spokane City Council voted in January to extend the operating contract only through the end of this year. The East Central Community Organization, a nonprofit focused on housing in the neighborhood bisected by Interstate 90, has run the center at 500 S. Stone St. since 2012, after the city stepped away from operations.

Chris Venne, president of the nonprofit, said their letter of intent has already been submitted and a committee is working on the first draft of a full proposal, due to the city by May 1.

“We’re kind of in this holding pattern,” Venne said. “We’ll know a lot more when we see who else is intending to apply.”

City Councilman Breean Beggs, who served on an advisory panel of community members and elected officials that initially recommended a six-month contract extension with Venne’s group, said he’d heard of at least two organizations that were interested in running the center. He said the proposal period will allow the community to craft a contract that reflects the level of service they want from the center.

“Even if it’s going to be the same vendor, my vision is that the contract will be very different,” said Beggs.

Any organization interested in running the center needs to submit their letter of intent to apply by Monday, said Jonathan Mallahan, director of the city’s Community and Neighborhood Services division. Interested parties will be brought in for a preproposal meeting at the center in April, and the city hopes to have selected who will run the facility by June.

Those who apply for the contract will be ranked by a committee that is similar in make-up, but not identical, to the panel that suggested a six-month extension to continue the existing operator, Beggs said. That recommendation would then go to the full City Council for approval.

The East Central Community Organization will run the center through the end of December, regardless of who the council selects. The next operator would start their contract at the beginning of next year.

Organizations interested in submitting their proposals to the city can send a letter of intent to purchasinghelp@spokanecity.org.

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