Update to Downtown Spokane ‘Sit & Lie’ Ordinance

Our friends at the Downtown Spokane Partnership have put out a Call to Action in support of the updated ‘Sit & Lie’ ordinance for Downtown Spokane.

A safe and vibrant Downtown Spokane is vital to the economic health of the region. It encourage commerce, attracts tourists and visitors, and enhances the quality of life that we all expect from our wonderful city. Unfortunately, we’ve all likely witnessed some of the bad actors participating in nuisance behavior or causing public safety hazards typically to the detriment of our Downtown shops and businesses. The update to this ordinance will provide additional tools for Spokane Police Officers to remove these types of individuals or direct them to shelters and/or other opportunities for assistance. It is very important that Spokane has the ability to handle these issues now rather than waiting for us to potentially find ourselves in a situation like Portland.  If you have questions about the ordinance you can some of the additional information below or contact Andrew Rolwes at the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) at arolwes@downtownspokane.net or 509.456.0580.

The final hearing on the ordinance will be:

6pm | Monday, December 16th

Spokane City Hall

–          Michael Cathcart, SHBA Government Affairs Director

[The following information provided by the Downtown Spokane Partnership]



  • No person may sit or lie down upon a public sidewalk, or upon a blanket, chair, stool or any other object placed upon a public sidewalk between 6am-1am, unless allowed by the neighboring property owner.
  • At all times it is unlawful to sit or lie on any drinking fountain, trash container, planter, bicycle rack, or any other sidewalk fixture not designed primarily for the purpose of sitting.
  • At all times it is unlawful to sit or lie in any entrance to or exit from any building or parking lot, or on any loading dock.
  • Ordinance will not be enforced if all homeless shelters are full.


  • This ordinance will not criminalize homeless: it will bring accountability
    to the aimless.
  • This ordinance will only be enforced after the person is given a warning and directed to services.
  • Currently, there’s no motivation for people to find help if needed, so some lay and/or sit on our sidewalks, panhandle for hand outs and in some cases engage in threatening/intimidating behavior.
  • We must take back some reasonable control of our sidewalks and public spaces if we wish to support a vibrant, thriving Downtown neighborhood that welcomes employees, visitors and residents.
  • This is one part of a comprehensive approach to help those in genuine need and provide a tool officers need to encourage people to either receive services or move along.