Spokane Lands “in Episode of Portlandia” With New Urban Farming Rules

By Paige Browning

You don’t have to live in the country to raise pigs or sell your backyard veggies anymore. Livestock and neighborhood markets are now allowed in Spokane’s city limits, thanks to two measures approved Monday night by the city council.
 
Council president Ben Stuckart sponsored the urban farming measures.
 
Stuckart: “Less than three percent of that, that we consume, is grown locally. It is a completely inefficient system when you are shipping 90% of the food that you eat in.”
 
That’s were the first ordinance comes in, which all seven council member supported. It allows residents to sell produce from their gardens, without a business license.
 
The second ordinance permits people to raise fowl like chickens, and small livestock like goats or pigs, in their backyard. It passed, but without support from Mike Fagan, Steve Salvatori, and Mike Allen. Allen said he feels like he landed in an episode of Portlandia. Fagan is worried about the smell.
 
Fagan: “I think that the neighbors are going to be up in arms just by virtue of the odor that’s going to be created.”
 
Spokane resident Phyllis Meyer felt the same way at the council meeting. She said she's concerned about "… the odors associated with barnyard animals.”
 
City-living livestock won’t threaten the public health, though, according to Kim Papich of the Spokane County Regional Health District.
 
People who want to raise livestock, aside from chickens, must get certified. The ordinance allows one fowl animal per 1,000 square feet of property, or one small livestock per 2,500 square feet. Male sheep and goats need to be neutered and de-scented.
 
And speaking of Portland, there you can raise anything from chickens to horses in the backyard, the latter requiring a permit.
 
If you know something who wants to start raising small livestock in Spokane, we’d like to hear their story. Please email us at kpbx@kpbx.org.
 
Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio
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