Tony Newton

Conversations on Environmental Justice

Tony Newton, City Council Sustainability Intern, No Phone Number Available

Monday, October 17, 2022 at 4:06 p.m.

Conversations on Environmental Justice

Members of the City Council’s Environmental Justice & Equity Workgroup partnered with the Sustainability Action Subcommittee (SAS) this summer and attended a variety of events for the purpose of engaging residents on the topics of sustainability and environmental justice. Here are some highlights from our conversations.

Hillyard Days – Let the Good Times Roll!

The Hillyard Festival continued this year the on first weekend in August, starting Friday, August 5 and concluding on Sunday, August 7. The festival was held at Sharply Harmon Park and included vendor spaces for businesses, amusement games, arts & crafts, and information booths.

SAS members Whit Jasper, Ryan Lok, Sister Pat Millen and Allison Smith volunteered throughout the weekend. Members of the community discussed issues such as lack of supportive infrastructure, housing & homelessness, and wage stagnation. A concern voiced by community members is that people in Spokane are being priced out of their physical homes and priced out of Spokane altogether. There were also additional, clarifying questions about the recent water conservation and drought response ordinance passed via City Council.

Spokane Eastside Reunion Association

This year SERA held its end-of-the-summer celebration at Underhill Park in the East Central neighborhood. On August 13 community members, families, and organizations gathered to celebrate the neighborhood and the end of the basketball camp!

The Sustainable Action Subcommittee partnered with Whit Jasper, a representative for the City of Spokane’s Environmental Justice and Equity Subcommittee, to share table space with the Spokane Chapter of the NAACP. Spokane NAACP provided 30 miniature flowerpots along with soil, seeds, and art supplies for children to make the flowerpots their own!

Community members could participate with the SAS interactive boards and give feedback on how they were currently experiencing environmental impacts, such as extreme heat, wildfire smoke, and an increase in household expenses.

Unity in the Community

This year’s Unity in the Community celebration event occurred on Aug. 20, 2022 at Riverfront Park. This was the 28th year the event has taken place and is the region’s largest multicultural celebration. The event features activities for all ages, free K-8 school supplies, live entertainment and more.

Thank you to Lisa Gardner, Ryan Lok, White Jester, and Ian Cunningham for volunteering to table the event! Alongside the interactive survey boards, the SAS also had a Jeopardy-themed game to engage the younger community members.

Continued Community Engagement

Through their work with the Environmental Justice and Equity Subcommittee, Whit Jasper has organized information sessions that will be held at the end of October.

Each session will feature presentations from community organizations on topics such as extreme heat, city planning, and water access and equity.

The first session will be held on Wednesday, October 26 at The Hive library location from 5 – 7 p.m.

The second session will be on Saturday, October 29 at the Central Library from 3 – 5 p.m.

There will be light refreshments provided. For more information about these events, contact Whit Jester at

Common Topics and Themes Shared

  • Infrastructure that meets the current population demands
  • Not pricing people out of the community, especially those vulnerable elders who have lived in the region since birth
  • Water Conservation and the Water Ordinance
  • Housing and Homelessness

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