Iconic downtown Spokane parking structure lacks spots for driver - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Iconic downtown Spokane parking structure lacks spots for drivers with disabilities

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

A popular downtown Spokane icon has one woman very upset. She says the Parkade doesn't have a single spot for driver's with disabilities. She wasn't getting satisfying answers herself, so she said "Help Me Hayley."

"My condition was first diagnosed in 2000," Anita Jamison said. "I've tried several different therapies."

You'd never guess what a struggle each and every day really is for Anita.

"If you only knew my story, you'd know why I walk the way I walk and hug the building," she said.  

Her Multiple Sclerosis makes each step a challenge.

"I feel like I'm an 85-year-old person in a younger body," she said.

And the winter makes it terrifying.

"With my muscle stiffness, cold weather is not my friend," she said.

And neither has the iconic downtown Spokane parking structure, the Parkade. Built in 1967, the multi-level garage won awards for its design when it first opened. But the Parkade is still missing one thing.  There's not one single handicapped parking spot.               

"When we started investigating whether they could put one in, we were told they felt they didn't have to do that," Anita said.

Anita said local staff referred her to a national management company. She claims the rep she talked to was adamant change was not on the agenda

"It makes me feel a little invisible, because he doesn't want to help," she said of her conversation.

So she called our Hayley Guenthner, hoping she would. Hayley immediately started digging. She wrote multiple emails and made more than a dozen calls. Hayley was bounced from person to person, until she tracked down the local manager of the facility, Heiber Properties. Hayley learned this isn't the first time someone has complained.

Heiber Properties sent KHQ a letter the Parkade's attorney's shot off to a complainant back on March 22, 1995. In part, the letter reads "architects found two fundamental problems in the Parkade's structure which foreclose accessible parking for the disabled."

The letter states those issues are the lack of clearance and the slope. It goes on to say, "the Parkade is unwilling to designate disabled parking within the Parkade which do not meet federal safety guidelines and which may represent to disabled individuals that the parking area is safe for the disabled, when in fact, it may not be."

Staff also said in an email to Hayley that "they have 6 handicapped stalls,(one van) in the parking lot to the north of the Parkade, the Bennett block has an elevator that may be accessed to the skywalk when the weather is bad." But Hayley also learned there was no signage outside the Parkade letting drivers with disabilities know where they can go.

Hayley put in a request to change that, and Heiber Properties agreed. A new either by 10 sign will be placed at the front of the facility with directions in the coming days. Anita is grateful to see at least some improvement.

"You really take the challenge all the way, you champion it, for the people," Anita said.

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