SPOKANE, Wash. -Residents near Highway 195 and Thorpe Road in Spokane say the homeless camps near their homes have gotten out of control. One neighbor says there are at least 16 homeless camps and says it’s a free for all. The problem is, the camps are so far up from the road, that a lot of people would not even notice it.
Doug Burke lives by Fish Lake Trail and has taken pictures of the camps for evidence. He says he’s called multiple times to file complaints. He showed KHQ a sign that the city put near the trail that says, “No camping, violators subject to arrest’ and, ‘Give Help! Call 311 give real change.’
But Burke says the homeless don’t pay attention to the sign or follow it. “There was over 29 people up here at one given time," said Burke.
The problem keeps happening. To give perspective, last year near Burke’s property, a homeless man was arrested for arson after police say he started fires along Fish Lake Trail.
Burke showed KHQ around the area and there were several camps near the trail. There’s trash littered everywhere and at one camp, there were bikes piled up and blankets hanging.
We talked with a homeless man who didn't want to be on camera but said he had been in the area for two weeks. We asked him if he felt like the city helps them and he told us he doesn’t think so. He told us he doesn't want to be in a homeless shelter because he says it's not a good environment and he doesn't feel secure.
So who owns the land that Burke showed KHQ? It's actually tricky and it depends who you ask. We talked with a city spokeswoman who says it's a complicated area, with several privately owned parcels of land.
We're working on answers and will update this story.
The city of Spokane says if you ever have a concern, to call 311. It’s the ‘My Spokane Hotline’ and they can help with homeless encampments. They also say if someone needs help and resources to call 211.