Mayor Verner declares emergency - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mayor Verner declares emergency

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Mayor Mary Verner today declared an emergency within the City of Spokane as a result of record snowfall in the past week and forecasts for continuing snow today and throughout the week.  December 2008 already is the fifth snowiest on record, with more than a week to go.

The emergency declaration is the first step in seeking a "Proclamation of Emergency" from Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire to gain access to state and federal assistance.

"Getting our City and its citizens moving has been priority one for the last eight days.  We are handling the snow up to now, but not optimally, and our resources-including people, equipment, and money-are stretched to the max," says Mayor Mary Verner.  "Today, I am declaring an emergency in order to allow my departments the greatest flexibility possible to gain additional resources as needed and to start the process to seek any state and federal assistance that is available to our City."

In the last week, the City has spent about $1.5 million in snow removal efforts, running City and contract crews 24 hours a day.  The City has completed one full-City plow and started a second.  Crews also removed significant berms from the center of the downtown streets and have repeatedly worked to clear snow from the City's snow emergency routes, arterials, and bus routes.  Personnel from the Street, Water, and Wastewater departments all have been involved in snow removal efforts.

Police and fire personnel also have responded to considerable numbers of collisions and medical emergencies during this time.

"I want to thank our City workers for their incredible dedication during this series of storms.  They have worked tirelessly for the last 7 days," says Mayor Verner.  "And, of course, my thanks also go out to the citizens of Spokane.  Once again, we have pulled together as a community to help our neighbors during a tough time."

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