County Commissioners vote to re-open stretch of Spokane River - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

County Commissioners vote to re-open stretch of Spokane River

SPOKANE, Wash. - At the request of Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich's the Spokane County Board of Commissioners Monday officially re-opened the Spokane River between Harvard Road and Barker Road.    

The Sheriff requested the river be closed June 2nd based on high spring runoff that raised the water level and river current to dangerous levels.  The Sheriff's Marine Unit was called out on river rescues four times prior to the closure.

Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley officials re-opened portions of the river within their jurisdictions last week, but the quarter-mile stretch of river within Spokane County jurisdiction remained closed until the board voted Monday afternoon. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, Knezovich said Monday that although the river remains hazardous for the unwary, conditions had improved enough to warrant the re-opening request. "People still need to be cautious about high current and continued cold water temperatures," the sheriff said Monday. 

Marine Deputy Pat Bloomer added that receding high water may allow debris previously trapped by high water to break free and float downstream. "Boaters and swimmers need to be aware that logs and other debris might be moving downstream," he said. 

Collisions with this type of debris can be catastrophic for boaters, and swimmers can still be pinned below the surface by logs trapping them against underwater obstructions.

Although the river is now open between Harvard and Barker Roads, both the sheriff and members of the marine unit urged novice canoeists, kayakers and rafters to exercise extreme caution while using this stretch of river.

Press Release Issued by
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office

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