With less regulations and more market-driven outcomes in mind, let’s talk about how to maximize the economic impact of the Central City Line.
City Council has delegated authority to manage $1.1 million in public funds to vampires who fear the sun.
The real value-add a listing agent provides is based on the caliber of marketing assets he/she brings to the table, and there is no real estate agent in town that has an asset like SpokanePlanner.
Spokane, Washington. SpokanePlanner.
Dalton Gardens, Idaho, is one of 29 places to live within the Spokane metro. Find Dalton Gardens pictures, map, and a description here.
Spokane’s Best Parks – Mission Park squeezes a whole lot of amenities into 13 simple acres of flat, tree-lined greens. The Park is the recreational anchor of the historic Logan Neighborhood. Located only a few blocks from Gonzaga University, Mission Park provides a venue for students and families to enjoy the outdoors. The park is firmly woven into the fabric of Spokane. Historic buildings and old homes interplay with Mission Park’s surroundings almost to perfection. Not to mention, let’s count the amenities: baseball fields, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, playground, splash pads, Spokane River frontage, Centennial Trail connectivity, and a pool. […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – Corbin Park is a former horse-racing oval that now offers a green oasis on the lower north side of Spokane. How cool is Corbin Park? The park was designed in 1916 by the Olmsted brothers whose father, not coincidentally, designed Central Park in New York City. Renowned park planners in their own right, parks throughout the City of Spokane were influenced by their wisdom, and Corbin demonstrates some of their hallmark planning techniques by creating different spaces in different places. Despite being a flat, nearly perfect oval, as you meander from one side of Corbin Park […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – Audubon Park is 27 acres of rolling Ponderosa Pines, playgrounds, splash pads, ball fields and basketball courts. Located in northwest Spokane in the Audubon / Downriver neighborhood, Audubon Park anchors one of the quaintest neighborhoods in town. Acreage and playground space in the park gets a boost from Finch Elementary, located in Audubon’s northeast corner. Therefore, if the park’s playgrounds are a bit too rough and tumble for your toddler, you can wander up to the school and utilize their toddler-oriented playground and feel a bit more secure in their fenced-in play areas. Audubon Park is […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – Comstock Park is similar in almost every way to Audubon Park (the 9th best park in Spokane) except for one significant factor, instead of a simple splash pad, Comstock has a full-blown pool and aquatics area. Comstock Park is the first park on the list located on Spokane’s South Hill in the Comstock neighborhood. At nearly 25 acres, with rolling greens, mature trees, playgrounds, and ball fields, you may be surprised to hear that Comstock is one of the worst parks on the South Hill of Spokane. This says much about Spokane’s superior quality of park […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – Cannon Hill Park is perhaps the most picturesque in Spokane. Meandering meadows, stone-built footbridges, and a rich canopy of deciduous trees create a scene fit a for a La Grande Jatte painting. If Manito Park is the heart of the South Hill, Cannon Hill Park is the soul. Once a brick quarry, when the clay was mined out in the early 1900s, the famed Olmsted Brothers designed the rolling meadows and duck pond seamlessly into the surrounding neighborhood. Today, Cannon Hill Park serves as one of Spokane’s post-card scenes. Cannon Hill is the second smallest park […]
Finch Arboretum may be the most unique on the list of Spokane’s Best Parks, and is the first park on the list that provides a landscape more diverse than simple greens with a playground or two.
Spokane’s Best Parks – Cliff Park is brilliant in its simplicity yet unique in many ways. Clocking in at the 5th spot on Spokane’s Best Parks list, it’s also the smallest of the bunch (only 4.2 acres). Cliff Park’s center piece is a giant basalt outcrop that towers above the surrounding neighborhood. There are no playgrounds or splash pads or ball fields at Cliff Park, just meandering trails that lead you to the top of the cliff. Children love getting lost in the park’s trail network. As Spokane Historical points out, historically the Spokane Tribe of Indians utilized Cliff Park’s peak […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – Liberty Park is the 4th best park in Spokane for good reason. It’s the first park on the list that begins to incorporate larger acreages and more dynamic changes as you explore different spaces within it. Liberty Park is located a stone’s throw from downtown on Spokane’s lower eastside and has been the victim, in many ways, of large public works projects that have proved to fragment the neighborhood – namely Interstate 90. As a result, Liberty Park and the surrounding neighborhood have seen decades of decline. Although probably not the best place to visit alone […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – In lesser cities, Lincoln Park would be considered the crème-de-le-crème of the park system but, in Spokane, it is ranked third on the list of Spokane’s Best Parks. Bisected in half by a steep bluff that, in places, is a sheer cliff, the upper and lower halves of Lincoln Park are distinctly different environments. At roughly 51 acres, located in Spokane’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the famed Olmsted brothers recognized the value of Lincoln Park’s dramatic topography and designed a place that has unique flavors for all palettes. The park’s lower portion is a generally flat, tree-lined […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – Manito Park is so big and diverse, you’re gonna’ need a map. The heart of Spokane’s South Hill, it’s a tough call placing Manito at number two on Spokane’s Best Parks list. It’s more than just a recreational space, it’s a destination. And it’s more than just a destination, it’s what makes Spokane, Spokane. Without it, the City would be a lesser place. Although Manito Park does have several obvious hard boundaries (such as Grand Blvd.), much of it flows into and out of surrounding neighborhoods so seamlessly you hardly know when you’ve left. Dense tree-lined […]
Spokane’s Best Parks – Riverfront Park is Spokane’s best park. But don’t take my word for it, National Geographic recently ranked Riverfront Park as the third best park in all of America. Not bad, huh? It’s all about the waterfalls, which are aplenty, and provide for one of the most unique urban destinations in the world. How many major metros can boast waterfalls ripping through the core of their central city? Well, let’s count them: there’s Buffalo/Niagara, certainly America’s most famous waterfalls, but they’re not downtown. Greenville, South Carolina, has Falls’ Park, which is located downtown, and those waterfalls are […]
Garland is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of Garland Neighborhood here.
Corbin Park is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of Corbin Park Neighborhood here.
University District is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of University District Neighborhood here.
Lincoln Park / Altamont is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of Lincoln Park / Altamont Neighborhood here.
Audubon / Downriver is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of Audubon / Downriver Neighborhood here.
South Perry is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of South Perry Neighborhood here.
Peaceful Valley is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of Peaceful Valley Neighborhood here.
West Central / Kendall Yards is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of West Central / Kendall Yards Neighborhood here.
Downtown is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of Downtown Spokane here.
The South Hill is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of the South Hill Neighborhood here.
Browne’s Addition is one of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Find pictures, map, and a description of Browne’s Addition Neighborhood here.
Any contract that starts with proclamations of GSI’s excellence was written by an attorney so much as this blog post was written by a bikini model.
The best restaurants in Spokane ranked on overall food quality and flavor.
If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.
Life on the ragged edge. Moments and decisions when there are no maps, no models to follow because nobody has ever done it before – places without even a box to think outside of – are moments when you know you’re onto something special. The ragged edge doesn’t happen naturally. It flows from experts, those that have mastered their craft and traversed every detailed corner of their field. Upon mastery of your craft, you are then, and only then, allowed to bend (or openly break) generally accepted rules, like Cormac McCarthy not using quotation marks when he writes, or Jannett […]
If old-Spokane truly wants to Cure Spokane, then take a hard look at the civic entities that you control and protect.
Listening to the perspectives of mayoral candidates and city council hopefuls is an exercise in keyword identification. It’s their deployment of keywords that suggest whether they’re qualified to run our city or if they’re nothing more than an empty vessel. For instance, when they don’t have a substantive answer on a subject, such as homelessness, the default talking point is “I’m going to form a task force….” Within the minds of the task force candidates, there’s not a challenge in Spokane that a task force can’t solve. If the task force candidates get elected, I sure do hope all these […]
Tired of fighting for a parking space downtown? Here’s how to fix it.
Recommendation: If you were to bring Julia Child to one restaurant in Spokane, it would be Churchill’s.
Greater Spokane, Inc (GSI) intends to press our state legislature in the upcoming session to adopt legislation that will create an alternative port district for Spokane County. For those unaware of what port districts do within Washington State, they are (more or less) the premier economic development entities on a county by county basis. Spokane County does not have a port district, which is a significant disadvantage for us from an economic development perspective. If there’s going to be a push from GSI to forego voter approval of a Spokane County port district, as the law presently mandates, any legislation […]
Economic development was once all about primary job attraction. Enticing large scale manufacturers or corporate offices is still a worthwhile exercise but those who profess primary job attraction as their number one economic development priority are those that have chosen to forego acknowledgment of larger economic forces at play. Consult any oracle, and they’ll tell you that 21st century economic development hinges on two simple ingredients, data and energy. Both intimately related, both easily broken down into industry sub-sectors, and both, happily, Spokane is flirting with from several different levels. Data and energy are the ingredients that will create the […]
From time to time projects arise that shine a spotlight on Spokane’s dysfunctional economic development environment. The last time the spotlight shone brightly was during Amazon’s HQ2 process. Now it’s shining again because there’s this new cool thing called Opportunity Zones and our leaders in economic development don’t know what they are, much less how to maximize their potential. It strikes me that if local tax dollars are going into an economic development organization then the least they can do is stay on the cutting edge of economic development tools as the feds or the state or local governments might […]
City planning is a field far-flung from architecture. It is mystifying to think that architects are more qualified to plan cities than, say, geographers, sociologists, or even civil engineers. Architecture is a peculiar field because it represents the marriage between empirical and subjective studies. If a building functions perfectly yet looks atrocious, has the architect failed or succeeded? Perhaps, because geographers, sociologists, and civil engineers do not get the luxury of subjective analysis per se, the architect can stake rightful claim as city planner. If we look closer, however, it is revealed the architect resides over an illusionary fiefdom. The […]
Depending upon who you talk to, Spokane is either very close to or very far from connecting with the main stream tech economy. No matter your position on the topic, there are several tech-related economic development projects either in the works or simple enough to start that we can actively advance, as follows: Become the Smartest City Around Here’s where the nay-sayers are wrong, because this ain’t no pipe-dream. Avista, Itron, and Urbanova are all very real innovators within the nascent smart-city sector. Itron just dropped $830 million to purchase a San Jose based smart-city competitor. When Spokane corporations […]
“We don’t want to be Seattle,” say the naysayers who tend to be the same people against transit initiatives, walkability, and neighborhood revitalization efforts. We don’t want to be Seattle is one of those canaries for those who fear change and cling to their expo ’74 version of Spokane like a toddler with a blankie. We don’t want to be Seattle. We don’t want to engage with a 21st century market place. We don’t want 21st century diversity. We’re not hipsters. We refuse to recognize that Spokane is changing, that the world is changing. Nope, we prefer to be annoyed […]
That was a hell of a windstorm back in November. Gathering reports from various local news outlets, it’s estimated that the City of Spokane lost between 1,200 and 1,600 mature trees due to the storm. We also learned that the natural root structure of the Blue Spruce is shallow, over irrigating Ponderosa Pines makes them weaker, and the basalt formations of the South Hill don’t lend themselves well to burying power lines. (On this last point, however, it’s nothing a little creativity can’t solve.) Independent of the storm, one of Spokane’s best characteristics is the city’s tree canopy. Indeed, the […]
What do prosperous, modern, mid-sized American metros look like? How do we carve a niche that’s different from our competitors? How does a mid-sized city like Spokane distinguish itself from the pack, be unique, be something that others are not? Spokane, for its part, has generally been stuck in a malaise of mediocrity since Expo-74 – our high-water mark in recent memory. For over 40 years, local folk have pointed to the transformative events of 1974 as the seminal marker in Spokane’s contemporary history. And they are right to do so. The bold decisions that led up to hosting an […]
Competition to attract growth between American cities is fierce. Economists have written that the game of industry recruitment that cities, counties, and states play is, ultimately, a zero sum game. I’d argue that if you’re on the winning or losing end of attracting investment, arithmetic matters, despite what scholars say. Spokane competes with other cities, as we know, and most of those cities are within our tier. Without getting too wonky, cities are easily categorized by the size and scope of their market reach. For instance, metro Spokane’s 2017 media market rank is 73rd in the nation. For some quick […]
How to Be Mayor — A city’s mayor is its chief garbage person, pothole filler, sewer cleaner, and public safety officer. It’s a dirty job that requires pragmatism, coalition building, common sense, and leadership. If you were to ask Benjamin Barber about what traits all successful mayors share, I suspect he would cite the four common traits he wrote about in his 2013 book, If Mayors Ruled the World, which are as follows: “ A strong personality marked by both hubris and humor.  A pragmatic approach to governing.  Personal engagement in city affairs. [and 4] Commitment to the city as […]
Capturing The Essence Of Urban Spokane — These are the pictures that shape Spokane’s urban image, our best face. The View from Cliff Drive Gondolas from Post Street Bridge View of the Falls from Monroe Street Bridge Another View of the Falls from Atop Monroe Street Bridge View of Downtown from Kendall Yards Clock Tower and Pavilion in Riverfront Park Looking Down Post Street to River Park Square Descending Sunset Hill into Downtown
There are a lot of long and solemn hallways in Washington, DC. How best to navigate them is a learning experience for everyone, particularly elected officials. Annually, our local non-profits and governmental jurisdictions journey to the hallways of DC to lobby for their respective projects or policies. And so it comes to pass a bill that was recently introduced in the Senate’s Finance Committee called the Promise Zone Job Creation Act of 2017. Don’t look now, but Congress is considering creation of a new economic development tool that will give Spokane leverage over the competition. There are only 22 Promise […]
The owner of Skippers on north Monroe is leading a rebellion. The city intends to expend about $7 million in streetscape beautification improvements on the street in front of his business and Gary Jarvis doesn’t want the investment, thank you very much. As The Spokesman Review reported, Jarvis fervently made his case to the public by arguing, “’It’s ill conceived,’ Jarvis said of the ‘road diet’ plan. ‘It’s not going to bring business to the area … It’s just a yuppie thing.’” Thus, we have ourselves three declarative statements against investing $7 million to beautify north Monroe. It’s ill conceived; […]
Urban Tactics — The suggestions that follow don’t require years of planning and consensus building; they don’t require marshaling millions of tax dollars, fundraising, or special assessments; and they don’t require tax increases, public hearings, and recommendations for approval from civic stakeholders. These are everyday improvements that simply require a few rank and file municipal professionals, a small pot of money, and the will to get it done. Details matter. Unto themselves, none of these suggestions are catalytic. Taken together, however, Spokane changes for the better. Beautify the Ugly Traffic Islands You’ve seen them before. They’re all over town. Dozens […]
Spokane’s Clock Tower is taller than most trees in Riverfront Park. It stands 155 feet tall. May, 2011.
Up close and personal with Spokane’s Clock Tower, located in Riverfront Park. It stands 155 feet tall. May, 2011.
The Spokane Opera House opened for Expo 1974. It’s 2,700 seat capacity hosts the metro’s top-tier performing arts tours. May, 2011.
There is no better view of Spokane’s waterfalls than from a gondola ride over them. Try to catch the Falls in early April or so, that’s when the run-off from winter snows is peaking. It’s a hell of a show. May, 2011.
Monroe Street Bridge is one of Spokane’s most iconic structures, and it just so happens to span the main drop of Spokane’s waterfalls. May, 2011.
1) Be the Big City — I suspect we all agree, Spokane has opportunities for improvement. Understanding what we are as a product and acknowledging what we can do to improve it is a big step toward doing just that. We’re the big dog, the central city. Others in the metro can be the best suburban products they can be. The City of Spokane, however, has an obligation to be the best urban product it can be. Where some might argue: “We like Spokane just as it is. There’s no reason to grow into Seattle or Portland.” I would argue […]
Four years ago Mayor David Condon swept into city hall aiming to instill a degree of business savvy and trim some fat from local government. The youngest of a large family of boys was now in a position to prove his quality, if not for himself certainly for his father and older brothers. Mayor Condon was born connected to Spokane’s old money culture, and he was appropriately groomed via Cataldo and Gonzaga Prep. His family’s mansion on Sumner Avenue was amongst the largest on the street, and conveniently located next door to some of Spokane’s oldest money, otherwise known as […]
There are a lot of kiddie rides in Riverfront Park. Here’s a few of them. May, 2011.
The Ferris Wheel next to the Pavilion in Riverfront Park, Spokane. May, 2011.
…just another view of the tour train in Riverfront Park. May, 2011.
This little guy will take you around most of Riverfront Park’s roughly 100 acres. May, 2011.
The view looking easterly at the Looff Carrousel in Riverfront Park. May, 2011.
Spokane’s Looff Carrousel was built in 1909. Today, it’s considered a work of art from multiple perspectives — mechanically, wood working, colors. It can be found in Riverfront Park. May, 2011.
The view from inside inside Spokane’s Looff Carrousel. May, 2011.
The shops beneath the Pavilion in Riverfront Park provide access to the IMAX and additional kids activities. May, 2011.
GSI And The Art Of Illusion — I’m 37. I spent the first 18 years of my life trying to get out of Spokane and the next 18 trying to get back in. This town has a tendency to do that to people. Now, when I look around, I see a large group of us, back home, all hungry for change, and eager to transform Spokane into a 21st century city. But you don’t need to be born and raised to see Spokane’s largely squandered potential. Newcomers can see it, too, and they tend to be all the more confused […]
The seventh floor of City Hall is an increasingly lonely place. How did Mayor Condon get into this mess? He’s neck-deep in scandal with his head corked-back just trying keep his nose above water. Like an episode of Lost, the more you watch the more questions you have. Without a doubt, Condon is in trouble. The best sideways compliment you can say at this point is: “at least he was smart enough to cover it up until after the election.” Because of that, he’s still got a puncher’s chance. The question is, at the risk of mixing cultural metaphors, are […]
There’s a few loose threads on the security blanket that covers Spokane’s economic development environment. Some people have noticed it before, and perhaps even have come so close as to rub the tip of their finger against one. Everybody sees it, the loose threads, and yet getting out from under the warmth and comfort of the blanket is too much of a risk despite all the loose ends. What those loose threads need is someone just reckless enough to take a tug. You know as well as I do, we both want to see what happens when it unravels. Like […]
Economic development theories evolve nearly as quickly as the market. Local economic development organizations, therefore, also must evolve in an effort to consistently be at the forefront of economic development practice. Spokane’s performance toward this end has room for improvement. Many eras within the field have been largely discredited and replaced with healthier alternatives. Metro Spokane, however, still clings to several outdated models that cities of the future have long since dismissed. Below are all the broader economic development models tested and practiced by cities and counties throughout the nation. Of course, it’s difficult to capture them all, particularly smaller […]
Nine Simple Economic Development Strategies to Improve Spokane — Below is a simple economic development plan for the City of Spokane and, indeed, for the metro. A few items on the list may perhaps be challenging to implement. Nonetheless, it’s nothing a little verve and creativity can’t solve. 1: Dispel with the notion that fundraising, grant writing, and advocating for special appropriations is economic development. This one generally speaks for itself. I know I’ve said this in a previous posting, but fundraising, grant writing, and generally asking other people for money is not an economic development strategy; to the contrary, it’s […]
The Upper Falls Power Plant harnesses the flow from the upper Spokane Falls in Riverfront Park. May, 2011.
These dual bridges across the Spokane River look pretty cool atop a perch in Riverfront Park. May, 2011.
The Bloomsday runner statues (formally titled “The Joy of Running Together”) was installed in 1985 to commemorate Spokane’s popular 12k timed footrace. The artist is David Govedare. March, 2011.
The view from street level at the edge of the Monroe Street Bridge. March, 2011.
There’s a stretch of Riverside Avenue between about Monroe Street and 1st Avenue that creates a great street. This is part it. March, 2011.
The sidewalk along Spokane Falls Boulevard near River Park Square. March, 2011.
Outside the Apple Store on Main Avenue, Downtown. March, 2011.
Another view of Wall Street this time looking south. March, 2011.
The gateway into Riverfront Park from Spokane Falls Boulevard. June, 2004.
The view of Howard Street looking south in Downtown Spokane. June, 2004.
A view looking south along Post Street, Downtown. June, 2004.
You want some nice pictures, or are you the holy type? Just a random back-alley in Downtown Spokane. June, 2004.
The protruding and curve-linear Spokesman Review Building is one of Spokane’s best architectural landmarks. June, 2004.
Riverside Avenue looking east in June, 2004.
Main Avenue in June, 2004, looking westerly. The building on the right is Macy’s.
This great wide sidewalk is on Spokane Falls Boulevard adjacent to Riverfront Park. That old brick pyramid fountain has since been removed. June, 2004.
At the date this picture was taken, Downtown had three spiral staircases leading up to its skywalk system (the third being just off picture left). One of them has since been demolished to make way for a real estate investment, and the final two (showed in this June, 2004 picture) are still pretty cool, nonetheless.
These twin smokestacks are a prominent part of Spokane’s skyline. Once an operating steam plant that provided heat for the bulk of downtown, the operation was abandoned several decades back and the structure remained vacant and dilapidated until local developers revitalized the building. Today, an array of hipster tenants occupy the structure, known as Steam Plant Square. Picture taken June, 2004.
These are Spokane’s two tallest buildings. The white one clocks in at about 24 stories (243 feet), while the grey one clocks in at about 29 stories (288). Both were built and completed in the early 80s. Photo taken June, 2004.
The Davenport Hotel from Riverside Avenue. June, 2004.
The old Looff Carrousel in Downtown Spokane. June, 2004.
Downtown Spokane from Riverfront Park. June, 2004.
What is that thing? This art piece was installed for Expo 1974 outside the Opera House. June, 2004.
The sidewalk view outside of River Park Square. Downtown Spokane, June, 2004.
Spokane’s most classic urban scene — Downtown’s Pavilion and Clock Tower in Riverfront Park. June, 2004.
The Golden Circle – The Boise State University football program has a lot in common with Gonzaga University men’s basketball program. Both programs suffered from decades of quiet, mediocre teams before bursting into the national sports psyche forcing east-coast-biased pundits to reorient their perspectives a bit more westerly. Ian Johnson’s Statue of Liberty, trick play, two-point conversation to win the 2007 Fiesta Bowl did just as much for the Boise area as Casey Calvary’s tip-in with four seconds remaining to beat Florida and advance to the Elite-8 in the 1999 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Boise State football is to the […]
Ever Pubescent Spokane – Let’s begin our journey by developing an understanding of Spokane as a product. Ask different people and they’ll have different perspectives on how best to market the metro. Understandably, “Near Nature, Near Perfect” was a logical choice for a regional slogan. Somewhat ironically, it was the urban advocate Downtown Spokane Partnership who trail-blazed the consensus building process around a new slogan in the early 2000s. According to an article in the Seattle Times that explained why boosters changed from the long-standing “Lilac City” to a slogan that attempts to accentuate Spokane’s natural amenities, “The city of nearly 200,000 could […]
Exploring Spokane’s Political Class – There are precious few reasons why Spokane should not be considered one of the premier cities in the nation, and recognized throughout as such—a magnet for innovative, entrepreneurial individuals seeking a higher quality of life in an environment, both urban and natural, where all their needs are met. Instead, those who live outside the orbit of the Northwest only have a vague notion of where Spokane is, how big we are, and what we have to offer. We may perhaps be the most obscure city in America. Where, exactly, is Spokane? Far flung, indeed, by […]