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South Perry Blog

Archive for June 2010

Show me your yard

This Thursday morning, The South Perry Blog will be at The Shop from 7-10 a.m. Expect an update on how the fair and parade planning is going and a visit with Odyssey Youth Center. The Fair and Parade is on July 17 - just a few weeks out.

The South Perry Farmers Market is open Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. in the parking lot at The Shop (924 S. Perry) - stop by now that it’s finally stopped raining.

The South Perry Blog is curious about gardeners and gardens - big or small, young or old, veggie or flower - show us what you are doing. Perhaps this is your first time growing vegetables? Perhaps the roses finally bloomed? Any bee keepers in the neighborhood? Shoot an e-mail to the blog at



Summertime, and the stealin’ is easy…

This just in from Sgt. Dave Reagan of the Sheriff’s Department - some good reminders in here for all of us:

Property crimes investigators report that the annual summertime crush of vehicle prowling incidents has begun and that losses are mounting.
Thieves know that boaters, hikers and walkers/runners don’t want to carry wallets, purses, cameras, GPS units, I-pods, I-pads and I-other things while they are out enjoying the day.  They consider parking lots target-rich environments for stealing items easy to pawn.The best way to defeat a vehicle prowler? Keep your valuables out of sight, preferably placed in your trunk before you arrive at the county park, Centennial Trail or boat launch parking lot. 
Criminals frequently sit nearby and watch for would-be victims who stuff their valuables beneath a seat as they lock up their vehicle, and it takes mere seconds to break a window to gain entry.

Enough with the bread already



The Spokane Parks and Recreation Department is pleading with park guests this summer: please don’t feed the ducks. For the last two years, the parks department has spent a lot of time, energy and money on educating park guests about why feeding the ducks bread is a bad, bad idea. Bread is like fast-food for ducks: they get fat, yet are malnourished because they stop looking for their natural food when full of bread. Easy access to bread brings more ducks to the park ponds than what the eco-systems there can handle and the water quality becomes nasty; bad water quality hurts other wildlife such as turtles and frogs - and finally, some ducks never migrate because they stay where the fast-food is readily available.


Leave the porch light on

Officer Dan Strassenberg is the neighborhood resource officer for the South Perry District. What does that mean? That means he has an office at COPS East Central on East Fifth and he’s the guy who responds to tips from neighbors about suspected drug houses, abandoned vehicles and other neighborhood concerns.

“It’s my impression that South Perry has changed a lot over the past couple of years,” Strassenberg said. “The neighborhood has really improved.” His biggest concern is with Grant Park where, he said, teens tend to hangout at night – especially now when school is out.

The sun is out…

It’s a beautiful sunny morning at the Perry Street Cafe - the blog will be here until 10 a.m. so come in and say hello. I still have a stack of free papers to give away; today’s paper has the Hoopfest section in it.

In other Perry news, The Lantern opens again today after a two week vacation - it sure will be nice to have them back.

And the Farmers’ Market is this afternoon from 3-7 p.m. in the parking lot at The Shop - let’s hope they make it before the rain moves in. That would make it the first market day not drowning in rain.

Thursday morning blog alert

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be at the South Perry Cafe from 7-10 a.m. - as always I’ll have a stack of free newspapers to give away, and plenty of time to chat about the neighborhood.

Coming up is also an interview with South Perry neighborhood resource officer Dan Strassenberg, who shares some car prowling and burglary prevention tips.

COPS and neighborhood policing

The South Perry Blog is visiting with COPS East Central and Officer Strassenberg (your neighborhood resource officer) Wednesday morning - let me know if there are any specific questions or issues you’d like to find out about.

Also, does anyone in the South Perry district have an active Block Watch group?

World Refugee Day celebration in Grant Park

World Relief Spokane is inviting neighbors and businesses on South Perry to a celebration of World Refugee Day on Saturday June 26 in Grant Park. Events begin at noon with a potluck of traditional food from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and many other countries. At 2 p.m. there will be a program featuring traditional dance and song performed by refugees who have settled in Spokane.

The press release from World Relief Spokane states that many refugees live in the South Perry District, where they shop and go to school - this is an open invitation to come and meet the families that have found a new home in Spokane.

Download the flier for the event here and feel free to share and post. World Relief Spokane can be reached at (509) 484-9829

First day of summer washed away

It’s officially the first day of summer, yes, you may stop laughing now. It’s been one of the most rainy springs on record and it just doesn’t seem to let up. Actually, it’s raining so much today that the city’s brand new pools are once again closed - how disappointing is that? Depending on which forecast you look at or listen to, some clearing is supposed to come our way Tuesday and we may even get some sunshine by Wednesday.

The South Perry Blog would like to know how you cope with the rain? How’s the yard doing? Have ducks moved in yet? Are the tomatoes holding up? What are some of the things you usually do in mid- to late June that you’ve put off?

Father’s Day celebration in the neighborhood

Here’s a link to Jim Kershner’s wonderful story about Sonora Smart Dodd - the woman who created Father’s Day 100 years ago. Tomorrow, Sunday, there’s a celebration at her former home on South Arthur - the home has been restored by its current owner, Jerry Numbers, and is located at 603 S. Arthur.

Vendors and parade floats needed

The South Perry Street Fair and Parade is on July 17 - with the parade starting at 10 a.m. Vendors are still needed for the fair, and organizers would like for more funky parade participants to show up.

“Right now the big push is to get more vendors for the fair,” said organizer Marshall Powell, who stopped by The Shop this morning. “We are looking for artists and crafters, small businesses. We just need them to call us.” That number is (509) 536-5516

The music lineup is begining to come together, Powell said. The band Hay is For Horses is playing at 4 p.m. followed by LaChacha at 6 p.m. - both at the band shell in Grant Park.

The next fair and parade planning meeting is on Tuesday 6/29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Perry Street Cafe.

Vintage clothing on South Perry

There’s a new shop on South Perry. Summer Hightower has opened Veda Lux Boutique in the tiny little white house located right next to Lorien’s windmill - the address is 1006 South Perry Street, and the hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I’ve been looking at this space for years,” Hightower said. “I grew up in the neighborhood, I went to Grant, and I still have my family living here.”

Hightower’s shop features an eclectic mix of vintage dresses, shoes and purses, as well as hair accessories and jewelry that she designs. “I’ve made jewelry for the past 12 years, everything I do is one of a kind,” Hightower said, holding up a bridal veil.

Hightower will be at the Perry Street Farmers’ Market this afternoon and she’s got many plans for getting more artists into the neighborhood.

“I’d love to have First Friday come up here,” said Hightower. “I’ll host a garden party July 2, that’s the next time there’s First Friday. I’d love to have some artists here in my alley. It would be great.”

Big yard sale this Friday

This just in from neighbor Sue Hille: “SHERMAN NEIGHBORS’ SUNSHINE SALE
on Friday June 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Multi-residence, huge yard sale located on 7th, 8th and 9th Avenues between Sherman and Hatch Streets. Look for 613 E. 8th Avenue and 624 E. 7th Avenue (the corner of 7th and Hatch).
Shoppers will find furniture, antiques, crafts, jewelry, collectibles, books and housewares. And the weather forecast calls for sunshine.”

Odds, ends and this week’s blog alert

By Thursday, the Lantern has been closed for vacation for one week - it will be closed for one more week. Yes, some of us are counting the days.

Across the street, South Perry Pizza has changed its summer hours: Still closed on Mondays, but now open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

A new shop has joined the line up on South Perry: Summer Hightower has opened The Veda Lux Boutique in the little white house next to Lorien’s windmill (1106 S. Perry). She sells vintage clothing, jewelry and handmade hair accessories - the South Perry Blog can’t wait to visit.

Thursday morning, the blog will be at The Shop from 9 a.m. to noon - come in and say hello. As always, there will be a stack of free newspapers.

Used furniture needed for low income families

When the South Perry Blog visited Interfaith Hospitality of Spokane last week, Ashley Sprecher stopped by. She is the manager of Spokane Community Warehouse – which is located at a secret address – and serves as a clearing house for donated furniture.
“It used to be that people gave their used furniture to St. Vincent de Paul, but now they aren’t around any more,” said Sprecher. “Sometimes it all goes to Goodwill – other times people look for different agencies, but they don’t know about all of them or their specific needs. We do.”
Spokane Community Warehouse is sponsored by Catholic Charities of Spokane and supports 11 non-profit agencies, among them Interfaith Hospitality of Spokane, SNAP and Volunteers of America.
“Before the Warehouse, one agency would have extra beds that another agency could use, but they didn’t know about each other,” said Sprecher. “Now we know how many beds we have and who needs them.”
Right now, Sprecher has a list of 15 referrals waiting to be filled. Clients are typically families who have been homeless or for other reasons have lost their furniture.
“We don’t charge for the furniture,” Sprecher said, “and we deliver.”
Right now the Spokane Community Warehouse needs more beds of all sizes except King, which is often too big to fit in smaller bedrooms or apartments. Dressers, dining sets and coffee tables are also in high demand.
The need for furniture is pretty constant.
“It’s humbling to make the deliveries,” said Sprecher. “There are a lot of families out there right now, who never pictured themselves in a situation where they’d need donated furniture.”
Go to or call (509) 991-9345 for more information.

Lock your cars

This came from reader Nate Bartlett, Friday June 11: “I got home late last night from a school function and forgot to lock my truck, I went to leave this morning and someone had stolen my silver iPod classic that has over 12,000 songs on it, and its charger. I live on Hatch just past 41st.  I park in the alley there near my garage between Hatch and Scott. They didn’t take anything else, just looked through all of the stuff I have in my truck. Anyways, I know that it’s my own fault to forget to lock my truck, but it still makes me crazy that someone took my music.”

Have you ever had your car broken into in the South Perry neighborhood? When did it happen and what was stolen?

South Perry Summer Theater opening night July 24

The outdoor movies at The Shop - also known as The South Perry Summer Theater - begin on Saturday July 24 with Time Bandits (1981) and continue the following Saturdays with:

July 31: Wayne’s World (1992)

August 7: Stand by Me (1986)

August 14: The Great Escape (1963)

August 21: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

August 28: Superman (1978)

All movies are free and start at dusk. Bring your own chairs. The Shop, 924 S. Perry, will be open for your snacking needs.

Swim pass applications available

City pools open on Monday, June 14, and for the first time children will have to pay $1 to swim in the pools. The Spokane Parks Foundation has raised $9,000 for sponsored swim passes. These passes will be available in packages of 15 single-use passes, so there are 600 packages available on a first come first serve basis starting Monday.

Applications can be downloaded from

Starting Monday, applications may be picked up at the first floor information desk at City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard or at any of the six pools. Applicants must provide two forms of income verification - the minimum income levels are outlined on the application. For example, a family of four can not make more than $28,665 a year (that’s 130% of the Federal Poverty Level)

FIFA at the Checkerboard

The South Perry Blog got out of bed early this morning and ventured a bit outside the neighborhood: the FIFA soccer world cup is on at the Checkerboard Tavern (1716 E. Sprague) The breakfast bar filled up pretty quickly as Mexico took on the host nation South Africa - a really nice way to start the day. South Africa and Mexico tied, 1-1.

The South Perry Farmers’ Market is today

The Blog Dog would like to remind you that the South Perry Farmers’ Market is open today, Thursday, from 3-7 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to stock up on locally grown and produced food, crafts and other goods. This Thursday’s market was a wet one, but there were still plenty of shoppers and vendors. Carrots were spotted, as were onions and radishes. Lots of lettuce and other greens - hoping for new potatoes soon.

Help for homeless families

The South Perry Blog spent the morning with staff, volunteers and friends of Interfaith Hospitality of Spokane, which is located at the Richard Allen Apartments. Executive director Madelyn Bafus explained that Interfaith is all about the child.

“We help the family in the way it presents itself, but we are all about the child,” Bafus said. “If it’s good for the child, we all about that.” Interfaith is not a traditional drop-in shelter, it’s more like a rotating shelter. Twelve churches of different denominations, located across Spokane, take turns providing shelter for Interfaith’s families one week at a time.

“The families are at the church over night, then come back to the day center or go to school during the day,” Bafus explained. Interfaith provides roll-out beds that are transported from church to church. “We help between 20 and 25 families every year,” said Bafus. “We usually have a waiting list but we actually have an opening right now.” Interfaith doesn’t charge anything and families can stay with the organization for three months. “But we never turn someone out to homelessness,” Bafus said.

One client is Bridget and her four children. She came to Spokane 15 months ago, in an effort to escape a stalking and abusive ex-husband. “We arrived on Amtrak with four kids, 18 bags clothing and one bag of favorite toys for everyone,” said Bridget. “I had a plan, but perhaps not the best thought out plan.” Bridget had her tax refund and was planning to find a place to live in Spokane, using that money for a security deposit and the first three months of rent. That didn’t quite work out and soon she’d spent what she had on living in hotels. “We had no history here, no rental history. Landlords wanted to know about employment, it wasn’t enough that I had rent for three months,” she said. Bridget found Interfaith and can’t say enough good things about the help she got there. “They were with us every step of the way,” Bridget said. She learned about and joined programs run by SNAP, Career Path Services and many other local non-profits. Eventually the family found housing and now Bridget is in a much better position to pursue the next goal: “I really want to get a job - that is the next step. And I also give back to Interfaith whenever I can.”

Doug Beane is the co-coordinator of Interfaith Hospitality at St. John’s Cathedral. “I think the program runs very smoothly,” Beane said. “The most challenging part is pulling together a roster of reliable volunteers, but we got that now.” Volunteers provide a warm dinner for the families at the church, and cold breakfast items in the mornings. The church also have two over-night hosts staying with the families. “It’s one week at a time, Sunday to Sunday, and how it works out depends on how many people we have,” Beane said. “It’s often more busy before the families get there, with cleaning up and getting ready and all that.”

Bafus said they always need new churches to join the non-profit: “There is a need out there and we try to meet it, one family at a time. We can always use help from another church.”

South Perry Farmers’ Market Thursday

The Farmers’ Market is back in the parking lot at The Shop tomorrow, Thursday, from 3-7 p.m. Stop by for fresh bread and greens, flowers, handmade soap and many other temptations. There will be live music and a great chance to visit with your neighbors.

Chicken coop tour this Saturday

Slow Food Spokane River is hosting its fourth annual Urban Chicken Coop Tour this Saturday, June 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will “scratch around at 3-4 backyard coops of different sizes and styles to help you hatch ideas for designing a coop of your own.” The coops are located on the west side of the South Hill.
The tour is organized so you can walk, bike or carpool from coop to coop, and it’s followed by an egg-ceptional social hour with other chicken and egg lovers.
Buy $10 tickets here:
For more information contact Erika at or call: (509) 951-7431.

Thursday morning at Interfaith Hospitality

This Thursday morning The South Perry Blog is visiting Interfaith Hospitality (608 S. Richard Allen Court, #5) from 7 to 10 a.m. - please come by and say hello. As always there’s a stack of free papers to be handed out and shared.

Interfaith Hospitality is a homeless shelter for children and their families and it’s been around since 1997. It’s the faith community’s response to the needs of homeless families. The organization is supported by 12 host congregations and 18 churches that provide meals and other services. Families are at the churches from 5:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. and then brought to the day center during the day. The ultimate goal is to find a permanent home for the family.

Also on the blog agenda tomorrow: are there any active neighborhood block watch folks on or around South Perry? Please let me know so I can share your work and contact information on the blog. Looking forward to meeting some South Perry neighbors tomorrow morning.

Calling all South Perry history buffs

I stopped by Liberty Park United Methodist Church on Sunday. After the service, I visited with a group of parishioners some of whom have lived in the South Perry neighborhood for 70 years or longer. Among them was Frank Tobie who gave me two volumes of church history beginning back in 1905. The history has been compiled by many different people – among them Helen Mitchell and Reverend William S. Turner, one of the founders of the church. Last night, I paged through the history of neighborhood families and looked at 50-year-old pictures of homes I recognize from down the street.

One June 6, 1910, T.W. Mortimer got permission to hook the house I now live in up to the city water main. People tell me my sturdy, no frills foursquare probably is a mail order house from Sears or Montgomery Ward. In 1961, someone added a fallout shelter in the backyard, the top of which is now my patio. There’s just something about old houses: yes, they tend to be money pits (mine sure is) but they also feel comfortable and, well, lived in, just like an older neighborhood does.

What I really enjoyed about my Sunday visit was all the neighborhood stories about the ice cream parlor and the meat market, the grocery shops and the library. I would love to hear more stories like that – don’t be shy – tell me about ‘once upon a time on South Perry Street.’

Sweet ride

The Blog Dog would very much like to know whose Ferrari Testarossa that was, parked outside South Perry Pizza late Thursday afternoon? Now there’s a ride that can my ears a-flapping…

Missing business?

I ran into Mark Mayers of One World Spokane Cafe at a function yesterday. We chatted for a bit, the cafe is going great and somehow that got me thinking of which businesses we are missing on South Perry Street. I stopped by the gas station the other day and was surprised to find pretty much a full-size grocery store inside (I usually just get gas and go) On my way home, I often stop at Hai’s to pick up that one thing I don’t want to drive another three miles to get at Safeway. There are still some empty store fronts on our little street - so tell me, what do you miss? What would you like to see in the old Altamont Pharmacy?

And the market is open

From my perch here at The Shop I can see everything you’d need to make a wonderful dinner tonight: many different kinds of bread and baked goods, honey, organic beef, jams and jellies, here’s even pottery so you could pick up plates to serve your food on.

The market is open until 7 p.m.

Students plant white oak at Grant Elementary

Grant students read 1,789 books - yes, that’s correct - over the past four weeks as part of the Read For Trees program. Every completed book gave the student one vote toward either a White Oak or a Wilson Elm, and the oak won: 1,226 votes compared to 563 for the elm.

Today, at a special Father’s Day assembly at 2 p.m., the students planted the tree near the school, in Grant Park.

Jerry Numbers, who’s been an East Central neighborhood activist for many years, owns and has restored the house here in the South Perry neighborhood where Sonora Smart Dodd - the founder of Father’s Day - lived. “It’s so nice to see all the books you have read,” Numbers told the students, before sharing that Jack Dodd, Sonora’s son, went to school at Grant almost 100 years ago. “That’s why we are planting the tree here.”

Nancy McKarrow was there representing Susie’s Forest - a tree planting project she is heading up in memory of her daughter, Susie Stephens. McKarrow donated the White Oak. She complimented the students for all the books they read and reminded them to be careful when crossing the road: “My daugther was a pedestrian and she was run over by a bus - that’s how she died. Every time I look at a tree, I think of Susie. You will have memories connected to this tree, too.”

South Perry Farmers Market opens in an hour

Somehow it stopped raining just in time, and right now vendors and local businesses are busy setting up their booths at the South Perry Farmers Market - it’s in The Shop’s parking lot, you can’t miss it. It’s open from 3-7 p.m. every Thursday, through October.

Tree planting at Grant Elementary today

Spokane Father’s Day Centennial Celebration Committee is planting a tree today at Grant Elementary School at 2:30 p.m. Grant is located at 1300 E. Ninth Avenue and was chosen as a tree planting site because of its connection to Sonora Smart Dodd, the Spokane woman who founded Father’s Day. Her son, Jack Dodd, went to Grant from 1915 to 1922. Dodd’s house is located in the South Perry Neighborhood.

Today’s ceremony starts at 2 p.m. with a program inside the school.

Father’s Day was held for the first time in Spokane on June 19, 1910 - for more information about this year’s centennial celebration go to

Pothole killers

There are a lot of ruts and holes on South Perry Street - no doubt about it - yet I’d like to point out that there was a city crew out last night working hard on filling some of them. Ideal? No, but better than nothing. This crew was busting its backs just north of the intersection with 17th Avenue. In the rain.

And just for the fun of it, here’s a pothole link that may help you navigate the craters in a lighter mood.

South Perry Blog this Thursday

Tomorrow is going to be a little different: I’ll be at The Shop from around 2-4 p.m. as the South Perry Farmers Market gets ready and opens for the first time. Please come by and say hello - I’m always looking for story ideas and input.

It’s that market time of the year

The South Perry Farmers Market is open for the first time this season on Thursday, in the parking lot at The Shop. The market is weekly, open every Thursday from 3-7 p.m. and the neighborhood is eagerly awaiting opening day.

Brian Estes, who’s in charge of the market, said between 20 and 25 vendors are expected on Thursday. “Our total capacity is 27 so we are almost full,” Estes said. “You will find any kind of fruit and vegetable, speciality herbs, anything that’s grown around here. It’s all local.”

The market season opens with a flower festival on Thursday - expect more festivals thorughout the season, Estes said. “We are planning a strawberry festival when they are in season,” he said.

Shoppers will also find eggs, bread and pastries, as well as some ready to eat foods. “There will be pizza and some southern soul food, for people who want something to go,” Estes said. Meat eaters will find beef, poulty and pork, as well as goat meat.

“We do take debit and credit cards, so you don’t have to worry about carrying cash,” Estes said. WIC coupons are also accepted. On Thursday, there will be  board where volunteers may sign up for various jobs and tasks. Interested vendors should call: (509) 521-0606.

“One of our goals this year is to be more community oriented, to be a social gathering place in the heart of the neighborhood,” Estes said. “We want to collaborate with local businesses and services - it’s going to be a great season.”

So what do you think? What’s your favorite part of the farmers market? Are you missing a certain vendor or looking forward to reconnecting with someone? The South Perry Blog wants to know.

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About this blog

Welcome to the South Perry neighborhood blog. My name is Pia Hallenberg and I’ve worked as a journalist in Spokane since the fall of 1998; for the last four years I’ve lived on South Perry Street.

I love the neighborhood so when time came to pick an area for The Spokesman-Review’s first neighborhood blog, the choice was simple: South Perry is where it’s at.

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Pia Hallenberg Pia Hallenberg covers local and neighborhood news in north and south Spokane for the Voices section.

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