SPOKANE COUNTY, February 14, 2019 – This week, Spokane County employees have been threatened twice by residents angry over snow berms which are a result of our roadways being plowed. It’s an inconvenience that occurs every winter and one that the county is working to address.
Living in snow country presents all of us with challenges. This is especially true when we have a week of back-to-back storms. For many people, it’s been a week of slipping, sliding, shoveling….and frustration. However, when that frustration boils over into threatening plow drivers and grader operators – it’s unacceptable and depending on the seriousness of the encounter, could lead to criminal charges.
Currently, Public Works has a Snow Gate Pilot Program and is testing their effectiveness in two urban residential neighborhoods in the north and eastern parts of the county. According to County Engineer Chad Coles, the response has been very positive. “The feedback we’re getting is very good and we plan to expand the program and purchase more gates for next winter,” Coles said.
Responding to the two incidents Coles said, “Our crews have been working 10-14 hour shifts around the clock since last Thursday. We understand that the level of frustration is rising, but please allow them to do their job.”
County Commissioner Mary Kuney reiterated that employees must be provided a safe work environment. Kuney stated, “Hindering public employees from doing their jobs will not be tolerated. These men and women are doing great work under some incredibly long hours.” Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich added, “There are proper ways to address the snow plow concerns and intimidation is not one of them.”
During the current break in the weather, crews made excellent progress in neighborhoods and will finish the entire 2,500+ road system before the next storm arrives tonight. To track the progress of snow plows, go to www.spokanecounty.org/publicworks and click on “Snow Plow Activity Map.”