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Spokane: Economy

Spokane: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Natural resources have traditionally provided much of the economic activity for the Spokane area, a major center for the timber, agriculture, and mining industries in the region. A number of manufacturing companies have located in Spokane, drawn by the easy access to raw materials. Finished wood products, metal refinery and fabrication, and food processing are among the leaders in manufacturing. The outlying areas are part of an abundant agricultural system, providing a large amount of the nation's apples, peas, hops, pears, asparagus, lentils, soft wheat, and sweet cherries. A number of wineries and breweries also operate in the area. These industries continue to be important elements in the local economy, but in recent years the economy has diversified to encompass high-technology and service companies. Health-related industries employ more people than any other industry in Spokane. The city provides specialized care to many patients from the surrounding areas, as far north as the Canadian border. The city is also the wholesale and retail trade and service center of the 80,000-square-mile Inland Northwest region. In addition, the educational services industry employed the most workers in 2002 with more than 17,000 jobs.

All branches of the U.S. armed forces are represented in Spokane County. The largest military facility is Fairchild Air Force Base, which employs 3,359 military and 863 civilian personnel. The military units and their personnel combine to have an economic impact on the regional economy of $411 million annually. Tourism is the fourth largest industry in the state, and Spokane is a center for tourist activity. Health care accounts for approximately 13.5 percent of the local employment base. Spokane has also seen the recent development of economic activity in the lucrative high-tech and biotech sectors. The city is the site of a 100-block wireless network- the largest of its kind in the country-which is seen as symbolic of its dedication to the development of technological opportunities and resources.

In 2002 Kaiser Aluminum, a major employer with a 60-year presence in the region, filed for bankruptcy. Despite the loss of jobs and revenue, Spokane has rebounded by working to make the city attractive to retail and small businesses.

Items and goods produced: silver, lead, zinc, timber, poultry, dairy, vegetable, fruit, and meat products, aluminum, magnesium, clay and cement products, machinery and metal products, flour, feed, cereal, petroleum products, paper, electrical fixtures

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Businesses

Local programs

The Spokane Area Economic Development Council works with businesses to locate and utilize local and state business incentives. The Spokane Neighborhood Economic Development Alliance offers two revolving loans to businesses and nonprofits expanding or creating new jobs in Spokane.

State programs

A wide variety of tax incentives exist at the state level for businesses operating, expanding, or relocating to Spokane. Industry- and area-specific tax incentives are available, as well as loans, bonds, credits, and grants.

Job training programs

Spokane businesses are assisted largely by working with the higher education community, including such organizations as Applied Technology Center, part of the Community Colleges of Spokane; ITT Technical Institute, which focuses on preparing graduates for careers in technology, and the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute, which uses the collective resources of local colleges to accelerate the development of technology companies. The Spokane Area Workforce Development Council administers employment and training programs for local economically disadvantaged youths and adults through the Spokane City-County Employment and Training Consortium. The Council also supports local economic growth by working to improve the workforce development system.

Development Projects

In 2000, the Spokane Symphony purchased the 1931 Art Deco Fox Theater and is conducting a $28.4 renovation and restoration of the building. Development is also ongoing in the Davenport Arts District, a 10-block area adjacent to the Davenport Hotel (which was reopened in 2002 after renovations), which is filled with new and proposed galleries, restaurants, performance venues, and a jazz club. Spokane's River Park Square, a downtown redevelopment project that is considered one of the city's most ambitious in decades, has continued to expand. The 400,000-square-foot property includes two full-service restaurants; each fills 8,000 square feet and has its own entrance. The $110 million River Park Square mall is anchored by a 137,000-square-foot Nordstrom store and a 90,000-square-foot AMC Theatres multiscreen cinema.

In 2003, ground was broken for the new CenterPlace facility at the 77-acre, multi-use development Mirabeau Point in the Spokane Valley. Mirabeau Point already includes a 45,000-square-foot YMCA complex, a 37,000-square-foot cultural/senior center, a central plaza, hiking trails, an ice skating pond, and multiple park areas. Also begun in 2003 and slated for completion in 2007 is a major expansion of the Spokane Convention Center. Budgeted at $80 million total and working in phases, the renovation and construction consists of new amenities in the existing areas, and a new 100,000 square foot exhibition hall. Developers are committed to employing environmentally-friendly building techniques throughout the project, including non-toxic materials and utilizing energy efficiency, natural light, and water conservation.

Expected to begin in June 2005 the city of Spokane has set aside $117 million for street improvements over a 10-year period. The project will repair about 110 miles of residential streets and arterials throughout Spokane.

Economic Development Information: Economic Development Council, 801 West Riverside, Suite 302, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (800)SPOKANE; email edc@EDC.Spokane.net.

Commercial Shipping

More than 30 air freight companies operate facilities at Spokane International Airport, and the Burlington Northern and Union Pacific railroads also serve the city. Many motor freight concerns operate regularly scheduled trucks in and out of Spokane.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

A large, experienced work force is available in Spokane; about 80 percent of workers are native Washingtonians. The health and service industries enjoy strong employment outlooks, as does manufacturing. Seasonal employment at harvest time is always available.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Spokane metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 199,700

Number of workers employed in . . .

mining and construction: 11,600

manufacturing: 17,200

transportation, trade, and public utilities: 41,000

information: 3,000

financial activities: 12,600

professional and business services: 20,800

education and health services: 33,000

leisure and hospitality: 18,200

other services: 8,900

government: 33,600

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $18.27 (2004 annual statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 7.1% (February 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
Fairchild Air Force Base 5,616
Sacred Heart Medical Center 3,232
U.S. Federal Government 3,174
Spokane School District 81 3,126
State of Washington 2,878

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Spokane area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $255,323

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 102.8 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: None

State sales tax rate: 6.5% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 2%

Property tax rate: Averages $14.94 in city, $14.21 in county, per $1,000 of assessed value (2005)

Economic Information: Economic Development Council, 801 West Riverside, Suite 302, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (800)SPOKANE; email edc@EDC.Spokane.net. Department of Revenue, Taxpayer Information and Education Section, PO Box 47478, Olympia, WA 98504-7478; telephone (800)829-1040; email Communications@dor.wa.gov. Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce, 801 West Riverside Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)624-1393; fax (509)747-0077; email info@chamber.spokane.net

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Spokane: Recreation

Spokane: Recreation

Sightseeing

Riverfront Park, the site of Expo '74, is a 100-acre urban park that has been developed into a collection of cultural and recreational attractions including a theater, art gallery, a skating rink, an antique carousel composed of 54 hand-carved horses, a train, and an exciting gondola ride over Spokane Falls. The park also features a historic 1909 carousel. Historic Fort George Wright, a 1,500-acre complex, was established in 1894 on a plateau overlooking the river. Other points of interest in the city include Manito Park, with its beautiful Rose Hill and Japanese garden, and Cliff Park, site of Review Rock, a large formation with steps cut into the sides that offers a beautiful view of the city.

The area around Spokane offers a number of attractions, including several ghost towns, the Spokane Plains Battlefield, and the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. A variety of historic homes, churches, and architecture are available for touring in the Spokane area. Spokane's local wineries have won prestigious awards and offer tours, tastings, and sales.

Arts and Culture

Spokane's 12,500-seat Veteran's Memorial Arena is a focal point for special events. In addition, the newly expanded 2,700-seat Opera House and the more intimate The Met Performing Arts Center host national and international touring companies and entertainers. Music is provided by the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, housed in the Opera House, which presents a full season of classical music, including special children's performances and Super Pops! by the Spokane Jazz Orchestra, which presents up to a dozen concerts a year; and by Allegro-Baroque and Beyond, Connoisseur Concerts, the Spokane Chamber Music Association, and Uptown Opera. Theater is represented by the region's only resident professional company, Interplayer's Ensemble, whose seven-play season runs from September to June; by Spokane Civic Theatre; and by several amateur community theaters and smaller groups. The Big Easy Concert House, home to a concert hall and dance club, has opened in a renovated office block adjacent to the arts district. Area colleges and universities also contribute to the cultural scene.

The new Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (formerly the Cheney Cowles Museum) reopened after a major $26 million expansion. The museum houses permanent collections of regional history and American Indian artifacts, as well as five art galleries and educational facilities. The historic Campbell House, a museum since 1925, is now a part of the Northwest Museum complex, with tours of the home available by reservation. A proposed science center is likely to be the next development at the growing museum. Additionally, the Jundt Art Museum on the campus of Gonzaga University includes two large gallery spaces and an exhibition lounge.

Festivals and Holidays

The Northwest Bach Festival celebrates the music of J.S. Bach in venues throughout the city for one week at the end of January or early February. The annual Spokane Music and Arts Festival in April draws artists and musicians from all over the Pacific Northwest. Bloomsday, the country's largest timed road race, is held on the first Sunday in May. Later that month, the Spokane Lilac Festival runs for 10 days and features such activities as a flower show, parades, concerts, games, entertainment. Begun in 1938, the festival also showcases local foods and crowns a lilac queen. In June, Spokane plays host to Hoopfest, the world's largest three-on-three basketball tournament. The Spokane County Fair, a tradition since the late 1800s, happens in September.

Sports for the Spectator

The newly-remodeled Spokane Arena hosts the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey Association. The Spokane Indians, a minor league farm team of professional baseball's Texas Rangers, play at Avista Stadium. The Spokane Shadow, a USL Premier League, plays soccer at Joe A. Albi Stadium. The Gonzaga Bulldogs athletic teams, members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, engage in intercollegiate competition at Gonzaga University. Spokane Raceway Park offers stock car and drag racing, while Playfair offers thoroughbred horse races during the summer and fall.

Sports for the Participant

Seventy-six lakes and four major rivers within a 50-mile radius of Spokane offer a wide variety of water activity. For hikers and nature lovers, a 70-mile pathway called Centennial Trail begins near the old Spokane House fur trading post and winds through Riverside State Park, Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane, and eastward past Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Trail was recently expanded to include 37 paved miles on the Spokane River. The city and county maintain more than 75 parks, many of which feature athletic fields, tennis courts, swimming pools, skating rinks, recreational programming, and other facilities. More than 30 public and private golf courses exist in the county. The nearby mountains offer year-round recreation: skiing in the winter and fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing, hiking, and other outdoor activities in the warmer months. In the summer months, floating excursions are available on the Spokane River, while several nearby rivers provide whitewater rafting opportunities. Rock climbing is available just outside of Spokane, and seven ski areas are within a two hour drive.

Shopping and Dining

Spokane shoppers are served by seven major shopping centers in the city and a number of smaller plazas and specialty shopping districts. Retail establishments in downtown Spokane are connected by a 16-block system of enclosed sky-walks. The shopping opportunities at River Park Square and in the retail district are unmatched in the Inland Northwest. Spokane's restaurants offer fine international and traditional American dishes. Specialties include fresh salmon and locally-produced wines. More than 500 dining establishments can be found in the Spokane area.

Visitor Information: Spokane Area Visitor Information Center, 201 W. Main, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)747-3230; toll-free (888)SPOKANE. Travel Development Division, Department of Commerce and Economic Development, General Administration Building, Olympia, WA 98504; telephone (360)586-2088; toll-free (800)544-1800

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Spokane: Education and Research

Spokane: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Spokane School District Number 81, representing all city schools, is the second largest in the state. Students' test scores are consistently above the national average, and over 70 percent of teachers hold master's degrees. In 2003 a facility and technology improvement bond was passed in the district which is allowing for various school updates as well as construction of new schools.

The following is a summary of data regarding Spokane public schools as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 31,362

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 35

middle schools: 6

senior high schools: 6

other: 3

Student/teacher ratio: average 18:1

Teacher salaries

average: $46,110

Funding per pupil: $8,069

A variety of state-approved private elementary and secondary schools augment the public school system, including parochial schools, special schools such as the Lilac Blind Foundation, Montessori programs, and the Spokane Guild's School and Neuromuscular Center. The Spokane Art School offers classes, workshops, and master classes.

Public Schools Information: Spokane Public Schools, Community Relations Division, 200 North Bernard, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)354-7297

Colleges and Universities

Eastern Washington University (EWU), a state-operated school located about 15 miles from Spokane in Cheney, Washington, offers four-year undergraduate degrees in more than 100 academic majors, 10 masters degrees, and 55 graduate programs of study. The university operates a branch in downtown Spokane and enrolls about 9,700 students.

Gonzaga University and Law School, founded by the Jesuits in 1887, offers 50 undergraduate degree programs, 27 masters' degree programs, a doctoral program in educational leadership, and a J.D. (law degree). Washington State University at Spokane, a multi-campus research university, enrolls more than 16,000 students throughout the university system, 739 of whom study at the Spokane campus. These three institutions, together with Whitworth College and the Spokane Community Colleges, operate as a collaborative project the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute, which uses the collective resources of the institutions to improve the economic vitality of the region. Community Colleges of Spokane serve more than 23,000 students in a six-county region, awarding more than 4,400 two-year degrees each year in 120 professional and technical programs.

Libraries and Research Centers

Founded in 1904, the Spokane Public Library system comprises a Downtown Library overlooking Spokane Falls and five branch libraries. Total holdings include nearly 600,000 volumes; more than 35,000 video, music, and audiotapes and CDs; and a periodicals collection numbering more than 700 titles. Special collections include Northwest history, history of the book, genealogy, oral history, African American, and U.S., Washington state, and Spokane County government documents. The library system also sponsors community programs for residents of all ages.

Special libraries in Spokane include the Crosby Library at Gonzaga University, which contains a collection of Bing Crosby records and other memorabilia. Research at the new Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute at Riverpoint focuses on technology transfer for commercial uses. The Health Research and Education Center at Washington State University Spokane develops clinical and applied research in biomedical and social health areas. The Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training recruits and retrains qualified professionals at state hospital to use modern treatments.

Public Library Information: Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)444-5300

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Spokane: History

Spokane: History

Spokane Area Popular with Traders

For years before the coming of European explorers, the land around the present-day city was settled by the Spokane tribe. Explorers and trappers passed through the area, but no settlements were built until 1810, when Finan McDonald and Joco Finlay built a trading post called Spokane House at the junction of the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers. In 1812, John Clarke of the Pacific Fur Company built Fort Spokane not far from the trading post. The house and fort soon became a popular meeting place for traders, trappers, and Native Americans, and the buildings were sold to the North West Company in 1813.

The Hudson's Bay Company bought the North West Company in 1821 and dismantled Spokane House. The area was once again left to local tribes. Chief Garry, the leader of the Middle and Upper Spokane tribes, had been educated at the Red River Mission school and converted to Presbyterianism. He built a school for his people and taught them English and religion, as well as modern agricultural methods. At about the same time, the first missionaries arrived in the area, establishing a mission on Walker's Prairie, 25 miles north of Spokane Falls.

The great westward expansion of the 1840s attracted a number of settlers to the area, but a clash with local tribes, culminating in the Whitman Massacre, led to the closing of eastern Oregon (the Spokane area was then part of the Oregon Territory) to settlement in the 1850s. In 1871J. J. Downing and his family located a claim on the banks of the Spokane River. Within a year, the small settlement included a sawmill, a post office, and a general store. In 1873, James N. Glover, who is called the "father of Spokane," rode through the area on horseback. He was, he wrote, "enchanted . . . overwhelmed . . . with the beauty and grandeur of everything." Glover bought the rights to Downing's land and sawmill and opened a store and stable. His early trade was with the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene Indians who lived in the region. The town was registered as Spokane Falls in 1878. By 1880, the town had a population of 75 people, a weekly newspaper, and several baseball teams. In 1881 it was incorporated.

Rapid Population Growth Builds Sophisticated City

Spokane Falls grew steadily throughout the ensuing decades, changing from a rough frontier community into a solid city, complete with all the trappings of Eastern culture: a college, a library, and a number of theaters. The transcontinental railroad reached Spokane Falls in 1883, ensuring the town's success. Fire destroyed much of the town in 1889, but residents quickly rebuilt. By 1890, the city had a population of 30,000 people and changed its name to Spokane when Oregon entered the Union. By 1910, the population had jumped to over 100,000 people.

In 1974 the city was host to the World's Fair, Expo '74, which focused the world's attention on Spokane. Development of Expo '74 buildings and other improvements at the fair site in downtown Spokane created a modern city center with an extensive system of enclosed skywalks. Expansion and development continued through the 1990s and into the new century. Faced with the possibility of losing important downtown retailers, Spokane embarked upon an ambitious and large-scale effort at renewing the city center. These efforts have been enormously successful, as Spokane has continued to attract new retailers and businesses as well as residents who are fleeing high prices in California and in Seattle.

Historical Information: Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Research Library and Archives, 2316 W. First Avenue, Spokane, WA 99204; telephone (509)456-3931; fax (509)456-2770

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Spokane: Population Profile

Spokane: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 341,835

1990: 361,333

2000: 417,939

Percent change, 19902000: 15.7%

U.S. rank in 1980: 96th

U.S. rank in 1990: 101st

U.S. rank in 2000: 98th

City Residents

1980: 171,300

1990: 177,196

2000: 195,629

Percent change, 19902000: 9.8%

U.S. rank in 1990: 94th

U.S. rank in 2000: 110th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 3,343.36 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 175,081

Black or African American: 4,052

American Indian and Alaska Native: 3,444

Asian: 4,399

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 372

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 5,857

Other: 1,727

Percent of residents born in state: 52.7% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 13,676

Population 5 to 9 years old: 13,571

Population 10 to 14 years old: 13,196

Population 15 to 19 years old: 14,315

Population 20 to 24 years old: 15,574

Population 25 to 34 years old: 28,401

Population 35 to 44 years old: 29,472

Population 45 to 54 years old: 25,631

Population 55 to 59 years old: 8,163

Population 60 to 64 years old: 6,329

Population 65 to 74 years old: 12,073

Population 74 to 84 years old: 10,737

Population 85 years and over: 4,491

Median age: 34.7 years

Births (2003)

Total number: 6,333

Deaths (2003)

Total number: 2,394 (of which, 33 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $21,587

Median household income: $32,273

Total households: 81,762

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 10,395

$10,000 to $14,999: 7,071

$15,000 to $24,999: 13,359

$25,000 to $34,999: 12,988

$35,000 to $49,999: 13,594

$50,000 to $74,999: 13,661

$75,000 to $99,999: 5,415

$100,000 to $149,999: 3,546

$150,000 to $199,999: 761

$200,000 or more: 972

Percent of families below poverty level: 11.1% (52.5% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,895

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Spokane: Communications

Spokane: Communications

Newspaper and Magazines

Spokane readers are served by one daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, which presents a special entertainment section on Friday. Journal of Business is among the biweekly business journals published in the city. The Pacific Northwest Inlander, a weekly newspaper, has an extensive arts and entertainment section. Other newspapers focus on senior living, the outdoors, and collegiate interests.

Television and Radio

Spokane has six television stations representing the major commercial networks and public television. The area is also served by a cable system that provides a wide variety of viewing options. Twenty-eight AM and FM radio stations broadcast in Spokane, which also receives programming from neighboring communities.

Media Information: The Spokesman-Review, West 999 Riverside Avenue, PO Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; telephone 509(459-5068); toll-free (800)338-880; email danc@spokesman.com

Spokane Online

City of Spokane home page. Available www.spokanecity.org

Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce. Available www.spokanechamber.org

Spokane Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.visitspokane.com

Spokane Public Library. Available splnet.spokpl.lib.wa.us

Spokane Public Schools. Available www.sd81.k12.wa.us.

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena events. Available www.spokanearena.com

The Spokesman-Review. Available www.spokane.net

Selected Bibliography

Alexie, Sherman, Reservation Blues (Warner, 1995)

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Spokane (city, United States)

Spokane (spōkăn´), city (1990 pop. 177,196), seat of Spokane co., E Wash., at the spectacular falls of the Spokane River; inc. 1881. It is a port of entry and the commercial, transportation, and industrial center of a productive region known as the "Inland Empire," comprising E Washington, N Idaho, W Montana, NE Oregon, and S British Columbia. The irrigated farms of the Columbia basin project, which yield wheat, fruit, and other products, contribute to the city's prosperity. The area also has cattle ranches and dairy farms and mineral deposits (tungsten, clay, magnesium, uranium). Other products include building materials; electrical and electronic goods; transportation equipment; canvas, wood, metal, and concrete products; machinery; foods, processed meat, and beverages; chemicals; lumber; plastics; computers; paper; feeds; aluminum; and consumer goods. Nearby Fairchild Air Force Base contributes to the economy.

A trading fort was established there in 1810; settlement began in 1871. In 1889 a great fire destroyed most of the town, but it was rapidly rebuilt. Spokane is a focus of cultural and educational activities, with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Jundt Art Museum, and several parks. The city is the seat of Gonzaga Univ. and Whitworth College in nearby. Spokane is a gateway to two national forests, recreational areas, numerous lakes, and several nearby resorts.

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Spokane: Convention Facilities

Spokane: Convention Facilities

The Spokane Convention Center is located on the banks of the Spokane River in the downtown district. The facility consists of 58,000 square feet of convention and banquet space along with 20,000 square feet of storage space. Renovation of the Convention Center is ongoing, with a projected completion date of 2007. At that time, the Center will have grown to over 100,000 square feet and will have expanded convention facilities, as well as new exhibition and display space. The adjoining 28,000-square-foot Washington State International Agricultural Trade Center, with a 300-seat theater expands the capacity, offering space to more than 8,000 people. The 2,700-seat Spokane Opera House is located within the Convention Center. The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena provides 173,100 square feet of exhibit space and festival seating for 12,500 people. The Joe A. Albi Stadium is a large outdoor arena that seats 28,500 people.

More than 2,000 hotel rooms are available within walking distance of the major convention sites in Spokane; about 6,800 hotel rooms total exist in the surrounding area. Most of the larger hotels maintain ample facilities for conventions such as banquet space, conference rooms, and ballrooms.

Convention Information: Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau, 801 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)624-1341

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Spokane

Spokane

Spokane: Introduction
Spokane: Geography and Climate
Spokane: History
Spokane: Population Profile
Spokane: Municipal Government
Spokane: Economy
Spokane: Education and Research
Spokane: Health Care
Spokane: Recreation
Spokane: Convention Facilities
Spokane: Transportation
Spokane: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1878 (incorporated, 1881)

Head Official: Mayor James West (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 171,300

1990: 177,165

2000: 195,629

2003 estimate: 196,624

Percent change, 19902000: 9.8%

U.S. rank in 1990: 94th

U.S. rank in 2000: 110th

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 341,835

1990: 361,333

2000: 417,939

Percent change, 19902000: 15.7%

U.S. rank in 1990: 101st

U.S. rank in 2000: 98th

Area: 58 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 1,898 to 2,356 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 47.3° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 16.5 inches

Major Economic Sectors: Services, manufacturing, health care, retail trade

Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $21,587 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,895

Major Colleges and Universities: Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Whitworth College, Washington State University-Spokane, Spokane Community Colleges, City University

Daily Newspapers: The Spokesman-Review

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Spokane: Transportation

Spokane: Transportation

Approaching the City

The Spokane International Airport is a multimillion-dollar complex located a few minutes from the downtown area and served by ten major airlines and three air cargo carriers. The city is also served by three commercial bus lines and by Amtrak.

Interstate 90 passes through Spokane, connecting the city with Seattle to the west and with points east. U.S. Highway 2 also runs east and west through the city. U.S. 395 continues north out of Spokane into Canada, and U.S. 195 leads south from the city.

Traveling in the City

Generally in Spokane, the east-west roads are designated as avenues, and the north-south roads are referred to as streets. Major east-west thoroughfares in the city include Francis, Wellesley, Mission, Sprague, and 29th avenues. North-south arteries include Maple, Monroe, Division, Hamilton, Greene-Market, Argonne, and Sullivan streets.

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Spokane: Health Care

Spokane: Health Care

Six major hospitals are located in Spokane, four of which are full service facilities. The city is the center of specialized care for the entire Inland Northwest area, offering an expert team of cardiac surgeons and more than 18,500 health care professionals, including more than 900 physicians. Sacred Heart Medical Center, a 623-bed facility, is a leader in heart, lung, and kidney transplant services. In 2003, the hospital opened the region's first full-service children's hospital; a Women's Health Center was added in 2004. The Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children is also based in Spokane. The Community Mental Health Center, which provides mental health services to children, adults, and the elderly, is nationally recognized and the largest and most comprehensive community mental health center in Washington.

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Spokane: Municipal Government

Spokane: Municipal Government

Spokane's mayor-council form of government formerly elected a mayor and six other council members to four-year terms; the council employed a city manager for the day-today operation of the city. In 1999 Spokane voters adopted a strong-mayor form of government, eliminating the city manager position. The city council still has seven members; a council president now presides over meetings instead of the mayor, so there are eight elected city officials instead of seven.

Head Official: Mayor James West (since 2003; current term expires December 2007)

Total Number of City Employees: 2,082 (2005)

City Information: City Hall, West 808 Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)625-6250; e-mail jwest@spokanecity.org

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Spokane: Geography and Climate

Spokane: Geography and Climate

Spokane is located near the eastern border of Washington, about 20 miles from Idaho and 110 miles south of the Canadian border. The city lies on the eastern edge of the Columbia Basin, a wide sloping plain that rises sharply to the east towards the Rocky Mountains. The Spokane River and its waterfalls bisect the city. Summers are typically dry and mild, and winters can bring periods of cold, wet weather. Snowfall rarely accumulates to depths greater than one foot.

Area: 58 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 1,898 to 2,356 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 27.1° F; July, 68.8° F; annual average, 47.3° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 16.5 inches

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Spokane: Introduction

Spokane: Introduction

Spokane is the commercial and cultural hub of a large area known as the "Inland Empire" or the "Inland Northwest," a rich agricultural region. The picturesque beauty of its surroundings makes the city an attractive vacation spot, and population and economic growth have brought many metropolitan amenities to the once quiet, out-of-the-way town. Although the city suffered some decline during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Spokane has undergone an impressive $1 billion urban renaissance and, through its many development projects, has ensured its status as a hub of economic, recreation, and culture in the Pacific Northwest.

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