Spokane, Washington

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Spokane (pronounced "spō-CAN" [spoʊˈkæn]) is the county seat of Spokane County in the State of Washington, USA. It is also known as the seat of the Inland Empire. Situated at the foot of a valley, midway between the rise and mouth of the Spokane River, it is 280 miles east of Seattle and 375 miles northeast of Portland. It is the commercial center of the eastern part of Washington and of the northern part of Idaho, and the distributing point for a great agricultural, lumbering, horticultural, and stock raising region. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 195,629 which is still becoming greater, and recent projections place the metropolitan population at around 560,000.

The area to the east of Spokane was incorporated as Spokane Valley in 2003. On March 1st, 2005, the Spokane City Council unanimously agreed to annex 207 acres, raising the population from 197,400 to 199,100, once again becoming the second largest city in Washington State. In the past the city has boasted about being The Largest City between Seattle and Minneapolis.

Spokane is served by Spokane International Airport.



Image:WAMap-doton-Spokane.png The City of Spokane has operated under a Mayor-Council form of government since January 2001, after 40 years under a Council-Manager form of government. [1]

James E. West, a Republican, is the current mayor of Spokane; West was recalled on December 6, 2005 due to his involvement in a corruption scandal involving his offering internships to young men he met in homosexual chatrooms. Dennis Hession, the president of the city council, will take over his duties after West is removed on December 16, 2005.


  • Spokane Falls was a gathering place for indigenous people because the Spokane River was teeming with salmon.
  • By 1881, the Northern Pacific Railway was completed at this point bringing European settlement.
  • The city of Spokane was officially incorporated on November 29, 1881.
  • Washington became a state in 1889.
  • Originally called "Spokan Falls", the city became "Spokane" in 1891.
  • In the summer of 1889 the city's downtown commercial district was destroyed by fire.
  • Between 1900 and 1910, the population grew from 36,848 to 104,402.
  • Dams on the Spokane River ended salmon fishing in 1908.
  • The railroad town of Hillyard was annexed in 1924.
  • The downtown area next to the river was renovated from a railroad yard to a one hundred acre park in 1974 in preparation for the World's Fair.

1974 World's Fair

Image:Expo74.231380 5252.jpg

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}} Spokane hosted the environmentally themed Expo '74, becoming the smallest city up to that point ever to host a World's Fair.

Many of the structures built for the World's Fair are still standing. The United States Pavilion now houses an IMAX theater; the Washington State Pavilion became the downtown Opera House. The Expo site itself became the 100 acre (400,000 m²) Riverfront Park, containing the U.S. Pavilion, the Pavilion of the USSR, and a clock tower (part of a Great Northern rail depot that was demolished for Expo '74), which are prominently featured in the park's logo.


Spokane is located at 47°40'24" North, 117°24'37" West (47.673341, -117.410271)GR1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 151.6 km² (58.5 mi²). 149.6 km² (57.8 mi²) of it is land and 2.0 km² (0.8 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.30% water.

The Spokane River, a tributary of the Columbia River, passes through the city of Spokane.


As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there are 195,630 people, 81,512 households, and 47,276 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,307.7/km² (3,387.0/mi²). There are 87,941 housing units at an average density of 587.8/km² (1,522.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 89.46% White, 2.07% African American, 1.76% Native American, 2.25% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, and 3.38% from two or more races. 2.99% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 81,512 households out of which 29.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% are married couples living together, 12.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 42.0% are non-families. 33.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.32 and the average family size is 2.98.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $32,273, and the median income for a family is $41,316. Males have a median income of $31,676 versus $24,833 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,451. 15.9% of the population and 11.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 19.3% of those over the age of 18 and 9.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Many areas in and around Spokane are commonly referred to by name, often named after the original planners or geographic features, such as:

  • Browne's Addition, historic neighborhood west of Downtown and east of Latah Creek. Home to many historic homes and the North West Museum of Arts and Culture.
  • Cannon Hill, on the lower South Hill.
  • Downtown, the commercial core of the inland northwest, many skyscrapers, art galleries, shopping, restaurants, Riverfront Park (home of Expo '74) and the all the other things often found in downtowns of large cities. Located between the South Hill and the Spokane River.
  • The Garland district, a small cozy district on the North West side of Spokane, with many small shops, and the Milk Bottle building.
  • Garden Springs, between Downtown and the West Plains.
  • Hillyard
  • Millwood, A small community in the west Spokane Valley on the banks of the Spokane River. Millwood got its name from the paper mill located there.
  • The North Side
  • The Logan Neighborhood located around Logan Elementary in the central North Side
  • North Indian Trail, at the northwest part of the North Side
  • Five Mile, the northwest plateau which overlooks north Spokane
  • Peaceful Valley, between Browne's Addition and the Spokane River
  • the South Hill Located on the south side of spokane, and taking up a most of the south side of the city. Home to many neighborhoods, such as Rockwood, Cannon Hill/Manito, Lincoln Heights, Browns Mountain, and Moran Prairie.
  • Rockwood neighborhood, is located on the southern side of the South Hill. Many of the city's largest and nicest homes are along tree-lined streets within this neighborhood's borders.
  • The Valley, now incorporated as its own city.
  • The West Plains, the flat area elevated above most of Spokane, encompassing the cities of Airway Heights, Cheney, and Medical Lake.

The Office of Neighborhood Services coordinates city services and facilitates the creation of neighborhood councils. A slideshow of Spokane neighborhoods is located at Inland Northwest Tour.

Also see:

Historic homes

City (1981) and County (1982) ordinances created the Spokane City/County Landmarks Commission - a group of private citizens who protect historic landmarks through the Spokane Register of Historic Places. On July 11, 2005, Spokane City Council enacted an ordinance restricting demolition of historic structures[2]. Many of Spokane's historic homes were designed by architect Kirtland Cutter.

Sister cities

In the cultural exchange program known as "Sister Cities" Spokane is twinned with:

See: Spokane Sister Cities

Colleges and universities


Military installations

Fairchild Air Force Base is located just east of Spokane, in Spokane County.

Fort George Wright (18991957).

Parks and recreation

In 1907, Spokane's board of park commissioners retained the services of the Olmsted Brothers to draw up a plan for Spokane parks. [3]

  • Created for Expo '74, Riverfront Park [4] is one hundred acres in downtown Spokane with views of Spokane Falls. A "Great Gorge Park," originally designed by the Olmsted Brothers is being proposed as an extension of Riverfront Park[5].
  • Riverside State Park is close to downtown and offers hiking, rafting and camping opportunities as well as scenic views.
  • Spokane's Centennial Trail offers visitors the chance to run, walk, bike or roller blade over thirty-seven miles of paved trails running along the Spokane River. Informational signs and parking are provided along the trail.
  • In the winter, Spokane residents have easy access to five ski resorts within a few hours of their city. A non-profit organization operates nearby Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park.

Sports teams

Events and activities in Spokane

Spokane is home to a number of annual events that draw people from a large surrounding area.

  • Hoopfest is the largest 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the world. It is held the last weekend in June, and boasts a variety of participants, from kids, teens, and adults to former college and NBA players, in their respective brackets.
  • The Lilac Bloomsday Run [11] is a 7.46 mile race for walkers and competitive runners. It is held the first Sunday every May.
  • Spokane is also home to a National Historic Landmark hand-carved carousel, created in 1909 by Charles I. D. Looff as a wedding present for his daughter. The carousel still operates in Riverfront Park, downtown, where riders can participate in an old-time ring toss. The carousel continues to offer a free ride to the rider who grabs the brass ring.
  • The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture [12] houses a large collection of Native American artifacts as well as regional and national traveling art exhibits. Located in Browne's Addition, the Museum boasts a secluded setting just blocks from the heart of Downtown.

Notable Spokanites

Spokane in film

Spokane has been featured in several theatrical films. See: Category: Spokane films

Common Spokane nicknames


  • Inland Empire
  • Lilac City
  • Spokaloo (circa early 1970s)
  • Spo-KAYNE (common mispronunciation)


  • Spovegas or Spokavegas
  • Spokanistan
  • Spokompton or Spocompton
  • The 'Kan

Used as commercial or political slogans

  • Spo-CAN!
  • Spokan't


  • The West-Central neighborhood, "the North Monroe/West Broadway area, is known by many Spokanites as Felony Flats." (citation from The Spokesman Review, "We Can Make Anything Pretty," August 12, 2005)
  • The South Hill area of Spokane has become known as "Spo-Cali" to many Spokanites due to large number of California residents who inhabit the area and cannot navigate their winter driving.

Print media

Spokane TV stations

Spokane radio stations



  • 88.7 KAGU Classical
  • 89.5 KEWU Jazz
  • 90.3 KWRS Variety
  • 91.1 KPBX [13] NPR news, Classical, Jazz
  • 91.9 KSFC Talk
  • 92.3 KYRS-LP Low Power Community Radio (also 95.3)
  • 92.9 KZZU Adult Top 40
  • 93.7 KDRK Country
  • 94.5 KHTQ [14] Active Rock
  • 95.3 KYRS-LP Low Power Community Radio (also 92.3)
  • 95.3 KPND Adult Album Alternative
  • 96.1 KIXZ Country
  • 96.9 KEZE Rhythmic Top 40
  • 98.1 KISC Adult Contemporary
  • 98.9 KKZX Classic Rock
  • 99.9 KXLY-FM Adult Contemporary
  • 101.1 KEYF Oldies
  • 101.9 KTSL Christian Contemporary
  • 103.1 KCDA Adult Top 40
  • 103.9 KBBD Variety Hits
  • 104.9 KEEH Contemporary Christian
  • 105.7 KZBD Classic Rock
  • 106.5 KSPO Religious
  • 107.1 KAZZ Jazz
  • 107.9 KMBI-FM Religious

Internet access

Spokane has free access to the Internet through a downtown Wi-Fi system. See: Spokane Hotzone

External links

Visitor information

Annual Events


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