SPOKANE, Wash. - One year since Camp Hope was created, a temporary restraining order prohibiting police from “sweeping” the camp was signed by a judge Monday morning. 

And once again, Julie Garcia with Jewels Helping Hands, stood inside the encampment, speaking on behalf of her team and those living inside Camp Hope. 

“It’s not necessarily that we don’t want the city or the police or anybody in here, we just want it to be done in a collaborative way so it can be explained to the folks on this lot,” Garcia said. 

After months of struggle, months of finding resources for those living inside tents and RVs, aiming to transition them into shelters or permanent housing, a new critical change has entered the gates of Camp Hope.  

A temporary restraining order, initiated by Jewels Helping Hands along with single plaintiffs, against the City of Spokane, Spokane County, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, and Spokane Police Chief Craig Miedel, makes for two key developments in the legality of what can be done inside, or above, the camp.  

All defendants are enjoined from the following: 

  1. Arresting and/or removing residents of Camp Hope from their current location, or seizing their property, without specific and individualized probable cause to arrest a person for a criminal offense unrelated to an order given by Defendants to disband, move, or otherwise leave Camp Hope. 

  1. Utilizing infrared imaging or similar technology to surveil or record the residents of Camp Hope, without first obtaining a judicial warrant for such a search. 

“They can’t sweep,” Attorney Jeffry Finer said.  

Finer plays a key role over at Camp Hope – acting in the role as Jewels Helping Hands’ attorney, essentially the camp’s attorney.  

“I’m not a housing guy, I’m a lawyer guy,” Finer said. “My job is to protect my client, to complete the work they’re doing and complete it in peace.” 

In recent weeks, controversy has grown surrounding the current state of Camp Hope– as more shelters open, the city claims shelter space is available for the folks living inside the encampment, so the camp should shrink. 

Mayor Woodward releasing this statement: 

"The city remains focused on getting people out of the cold and into a warm bed, regular meals, and services. We want people to know they have options other than living outdoors in the snow and freezing temperatures.” 

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Mark Gregory said the police are committed to restoring peace, and will continue to respond to emergencies and crime as needed at the camp. 

Today, past the fence surrounding the camp, it was clear the population has started to decline. Open space throughout the camp, less tents, less campers.  

Garcia says for those who were able to go into a shelter, have gone into a shelter.  

As for the morale inside the camp, Garcia and Finer agree with the police restrained from sweeping the camp, whether that be walking throughout the camp or using helicopters to shine infrared lights down onto the camp, those inside will feel more safe and more willing to cooperate. 

“This restraining order and the lawsuit, it does not mean that we’re trying to keep this camp here forever, we’re just trying to do our work not impeded,” Garcia said.  

After Christmas, on December 28, there will be a hearing to decide if this temporary restraining order will become permanent.

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