It’s 8am on Monday morning and Downtown Spokane Clean Team Lead, Natalie Love, has already covered four city blocks, erasing the debris and leftover food containers from a rowdy downtown weekend. “Looks like people had a pretty good time,” says Love.
The Clean Team is a program of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, who are contracted by the City of Spokane to manage the 80-block area known as the Downtown Business Improvement District. Business and properties inside the BID pay an annual assessment to cover supplemental services, such as litter collection, in public areas.
In 2017 the Downtown Spokane Clean Team collected 3,889 bags of garbage from sidewalk cans and removed 1,045 pieces of graffiti. Those are just two small items of work for a team that takes pride in keeping our city sidewalks clean and beautiful for residents, workers, and visitors.
Clean Team members can also be found maintaining planters, spraying for weeks, sweeping sidewalks, clearing ADA ramps of snow in the wintertime and sometimes offering recommendations for their favorite downtown breakfast spot, “I always recommend the Satellite,” says Love. “There’s nowhere else like it.”
As spring arrives and downtown prepares for thousands of visitors for everything from the Pink Ribbon Run to Hoopfest, the Clean Team works hard to get the core ready.
But the mighty Clean Team can’t always keep up with the demand from busy weekends and large events. Sometimes they need an extra helping hand.
Businesses, workers and residents are invited to participate by collecting litter in emphasis areas throughout the week, and stopping by on Friday to enjoy the community activity and grab a bite to eat for their time. Litter bags can be found at the DSP office. “Often, individuals are willing to spend a day cleaning up a visible space, such as Riverfront Park,” says DSP President, Mark Richard. “We are asking Spokane to take pride in all of downtown, all year long.”