REOPENING: After shootings, police close Knitting Factory in Spokane

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UPDATED 02.21.13:  The drama has ended. After meeting with Spokane’s mayor and police chief, Knitting Factory will reopen its doors Saturday.

UPDATED 02.20.13:  The Knitting Factory in Spokane has not canceled any events beyond this Friday. Here is a statement from COO Greg Marchant regarding this week’s closure:

We have had an extremely positive dialogue with the City and Chief Straub, and are confident that all parties are looking to resolve this matter and get back to business.  We have not cancelled any concerts from this Saturday night forward pending what I believe will be continued successful ongoing talks.  We greatly appreciate the overwhelming support the Spokane community has given the Knitting Factory.  Chief Straub and I, as well as our teams and neighbors, are focusing on how we can work together to keep the Downtown Arts District a vibrant and safe entertainment destination for the region.

There’s now also a “Keep the Knitting Factory Open” Facebook page with more than 3,200 members.

UPDATED 02.19.13: The Knitting Factory in Spokane has not formally appealed the closure. Nor has the club canceled any events beyond the one this Friday. Club management maintains hope that this situation can be resolved with Spokane Police without additional events being affected.

ORIGINAL POST: After two shootings that left four people injured Monday, Spokane Police have shut down that city’s Knitting Factory Concert House. The venue has 20 days to appeal, but it’s not clear if that has happened yet.

Considering that the violence occurred outside the Knit, this seems a bit crazy. Does the city of Spokane have any legal leg to stand on? I’m guessing … no. (Any attorneys care to chime in?)

This isn’t the first time there have been shootings outside the Spokane Knit in the past year. The Knitting Factory says it will cancel its next event — this Friday — as a “cooling off” gesture. (Read the response from Knitting Factory here.) But COO Greg Marchant hasn’t responded to my email seeking additional details, so I’m not sure if the club intends to appeal, stay closed indefinitely, or defy police and throw open the doors again after this weekend. But I have a feeling the closure won’t actually last 20 days. This headlines-grabbing move by Spokane’s new police chief seems unprecedented.

From the Spokesman-Review:

“We will not tolerate these acts of violence,” Straub said. “We are shutting Knitting Factory down because of public safety concerns.”

The concert house was hosting an event Sunday night called the “VDAY/BDAY,” which featured several disc jockeys.

The Knitting Factory management will have 20 days to appeal the decision.

“They’re going to have to demonstrate to us that they’re serious,” Straub said. “We were there a few weeks ago talking to them and they promised us they were going to exercise some thoughtfulness somehow in their patrons and the activities that were going on in there. Clearly they didn’t.”

Clearly they didn’t? I’m not sure what the Knitting Factory staff is supposed to do. Hire security for the entire neighborhood? Ask gang members to please bring their guns into the venue so that staff can confiscate them?

It makes me thankful to be a music fan in the Boise area, where violence outside concerts is rare and usually fairly modest. Right, Garden City?

On a more positive note, Boise’s Knitting Factory announced a very cool concert today.

 

Michael Deeds is the Idaho Statesman’s entertainment columnist and Scene magazine editor. His column runs Fridays and Sundays. He appears on the 6 p.m. broadcast of "Today's 6 News" on Thursdays and hosts a music show, "The Other Studio," from 9-10 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

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