In the public space, a certain amount of litter, beverage spills, food waste, and other unsavory items are an expectation. In downtowns, where foot traffic is denser, the battle to keep sidewalks clean is never ending.

Municipalities rely on a number of tools to keep public spaces free of debris. Alongside City of Spokane services, code enforcement and waste management, in downtown Spokane there is also the Clean Team of the Business Improvement District (BID).

As part of a 2021 goal of achieving more permanent cleanliness on downtown sidewalks, the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP), who manages the BID, have committed to daily cleaning of sidewalks that run under the BNSF railroad viaduct.

Constructed at the turn of the twentieth century, the elevated railroad runs 14 blocks through downtown just south of First Ave. and serves as a barrier between the downtown core and the south of downtown.

The railroad viaducts have been on the Clean Team’s regular litter patrol in recent years, but in 2021, team members will now be power washing and sanitizing 14 of the viaducts on a rotating basis.

“Between road grime, drainage from the railroad above and regular pedestrian use, they can get pretty gross,” says downtown Clean Team Director, Karen Fritz. “I can’t imagine what state they would be in if there wasn’t a Clean Team.”

The washing and sanitation program will be an expansion of services already offered at Browne Street which the Clean Team has been sanitizing on regular basis since 2019.

Located one block away on Browne, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington’s Neighborhood Safety Team (NST) is a community partner in promoting the health and safety of the area.  The NST makes daily contact with individuals utilizing the viaduct and assists the DSP and Spokane Police Department in referring individuals to community resources available to them.

“The Neighborhood Safety Team is an important part of our strategy to create a dignified environment for our clients, neighborhood residents and downtown businesses” says Jonathan Mallahan, Catholic Charities Vice President of Housing. “We have a long history of collaboration with both the DSP and SPD. Catholic Charities grants officers and detectives access to over 30 security cameras in the neighborhood around our properties as well as providing fobs to downtown police officers so they can access our buildings 24/7. The safety of our clients and residents is our top priority.”

“We are grateful for the help Catholic Charities provides our most vulnerable citizens and for their strong relationship with our organization.” says DSP President, Mark Richard.

The downtown Clean Team and the Neighborhood Safety team will be on-site will be power washing and sanitizing the east side of Browne on Wednesday, March 24, at 1:00 p.m.