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South Perry Blog

Archive for May 2010

Road construction and traffic updates

Remember: Parking meters don’t have to plugged on Monday, May 31, for Memorial Day and garbage pickup will be a day late all week following the Memorial Day holiday.

And now on to traffic:

The Freya Street Bridge project is completed and open to traffic. The $7 million project was funded by Bridge Replacement Money, the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, and the City of Spokane.

Decatur Avenue from Freya to Julia Streets is on track to be completed before Memorial Day.
Until completed, the streets remain closed to thru traffic with local access only. The project is to pave and install curbs and sidewalks of Decatur Avenue from Freya to Julia streets; and Julia Street from Dalke to Francis avenues. The $540,000 project is being funded by the 10-Year Street Bond and Local Improvement District (LID).

The Havana Street overpass project, which consists of constructing an overpass over the railroad viaduct on Havana Street north of Broadway Avenue, is progressing. the bridge will have four traffic lanes; the outside traffic lane will be a shared bike lane. Sidewalks will be added on each side. Traffic is detoured to Fancher Road. The $7.9 million project is funded by the Washington State Freight Mobility Board, State Transportation Improvement Board, federal sources, Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad, STA, and the City of Spokane.

The project to rehabilitate Lincoln Street from 29th to 17th avenues and install curb extensions with storm gardens that will drain the treated water into Cannon Hill Park pond, is progressing. The street is closed to motorists. Traffic is detoured at 14th Ave. to Cedar Street/High Drive or Bernard Street onto 29th Ave. The $1.7 million project is being funded by the 10-Year Street Bond and Wastewater Department.

Street sweeping will be done between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Residents are asked to move their vehicles from the street during sweeping. The complete city-wide schedule is available at and will be updated weekly until the sweeping is complete in July. The City’s street maintenance hotline at (509) 456-2666 also gives full updates. In the coming week, these areas will be swept:

Third Avenue to Hartson Avenue and Scott Street to Havana Street.

Fancher Way to Hatch Road and Second Avenue to Trent Avenue/Parkwater Ave.

Regal Street to Custer Street and 48th Avenue to 29th Avenue

Source: City of Spokane Engineering Services Department, (509) 625-6318



It’s your parade - you could be in it

The nice people who are putting on the 11th annual South Perry Street Fair and Parade on July 17 and 18, could use a hand. Bands, classic cars, kids on decorated bikes or waggons, dancers and singers are all invited to participate in the parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on July 17. So come on, dress up your doggie and join in the fun.

Community groups from all over Spokane are also invited to put up their booths and tables at the neighborhood fair, which runs all day on July 17.

Anyone interested in participating should contact Heidi at (509) 536-5516 or go to and download forms for parade entries, vendors and community booths.

It’s a dog’s life

Hey - I just want to introduce myself, I’m the blog dog. My name is Angus and I live just a few houses off Perry Street. I was born in Tri-Cities but moved up here some years back. I guess I’ve been here all my life. And it’s not a bad deal at all what with a new pizza restaurant and a tavern - and The Shop. I’m a regular at The Shop. I do that frog-leg thing on the floor over there - why do they call it that, by the way? It should be dog leg. So, I’d like to know what happened to the people who were talking about getting a dog park here - did you all just give up and go home? All bark, no bite? Don’t give up so easily people…

Vanessa Behan benefit breakfast coming up

It’s a morning like any other at Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, which is located just a few blocks off Perry Street. The nursery has been around for 23 years and it is often a last resort for families who need someone to watch their kids, while they figure out how to deal with circumstances such as homelessness, divorce or abuse, or perhaps a parent is recovering from surgery and needs a little  help. The nursery is open 24-7 to children from birth to age six, but it doesn’t have room for everyone.

“Just this year we’ve turned away children 500 times,” said Amy Swanson, the executive director of Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. “Some of those are repeat requests, so it can be the same family that has called us more than once.”

To better serve the families that are turned down, Vanessa Behan now has the Hope Program which is essentially a follow-up program.

“If we turn someone down, we call and follow up with them within 24 hours,” said Swanson. “We worried that when families are turned away, they may not ever call us again - and then how do we reach them?” Swanson said the Hope program aims to connect families with other resources in the neighborhood and throughout the community. The program is founded by a grant from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation and one private donation of more than $20,000.

“To us, a major gift is $1,000 so for one person to show up and give that much money was just unbelievable,” said Swason.

Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery has benefitted from the proceeds from the South Perry Street Fair and Parade since that event began nine years ago, and Swanson said the organization feels strongly connected to the neighborhood.

“We have been very fortunate to benefit from that,” said Swanson. “About the neighborhood, we like that it’s small, that we know people, we know who’s who arond here.”

The next major fundraiser for Vanessa Behan is the annual benefit breakfast at the Red Lion Inn at the Park on June 8, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. The featured speaker is a young woman who used to be at the nursery very frequently when she was a child. There is no minimum donation for the breakfast. For tickets, call (509) 535-3155 and ask for Kendel.

Donations of diapers and formula are always welcome - especially Similac formula and bigger size diapers.

“We tell our families not to bring anything here,” said Swanson. “When we have a big diaper drive, like the one we just had with KREM-TV and Rosauers, those diapers go right back out the door with the families - we always need diapers to use here.”


Thursday morning at Vanessa Behan

Today, I went blogging at South Perry Pizza at noon - lots of people there, and some really great pizza.

Thursday morning I’ll be at Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, 1004 E. Eighth Avenue, from 7-10 a.m. That’s the first time I take the blog to a non-profit and I’m looking forward to trying that. There are many non-profit organizations in this neighborhood and I plan to visit with as many as I can.

Coming up: an introduction to this year’s Perry Street Farmer’s Market (first day on June 3) and a visit with the Blog Dog.

Tomato plants looking for a good home

Virginia Kanikeberg is a member of The Inland Empire Gardeners Club and a prolific vegetable gardener. She sells her starts under the name Lola’s Garden, every year, at the Garden Expo at SCC in May. This year, she’s got a few plants left over and she’d like to give them away.

“I’d like to give them to a community garden or to someone who does ‘Plant a Row For the Hungry,’” Kanikeberg said Tuesday morning. “Or to a class at an elementary school. Gardening is a great thing for kids. It makes nice memories.” Plant a Row for the Hungry is a community project in which gardeners grow fresh vegetables to be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.

The backyard at Kanikeberg’s little house just a few blocks from off Perry Street is full of raised beds and veggie starts, some still inside her small green house.

“I have leftover tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplants and different herbs,” said Kanikeberg. “They are free for community gardeners.”

To make an appointment for plant pick up, please e-mail Kanikeberg at

Someone shot the water heater

When Mark Camp rented the building that’s now The Shop, back in 1994, his landlord carefully pointed out that the water heater had been shot three times. “It was pretty crazy. He showed me where the bullets had gone in through the frontdoor, hit the water heater, and out back,” Camp said. “And then he said he’d get me a new one.” Camp was doing metal work in the shop - a retired garage - and plans of opening a coffee house were somewhat off in the future. “There were other businesses here, like The Black Forest Deli and there was the DC Hip-Hop store, a record store,” said Camp. “But it was a rough neighborhood.” A friend on the SWAT team flat out told Camp that he shouldn’t go into the neighborhood at night. “There was a murder in Grant Park, but I really didn’t think much of it,” Camp said. “I’d moved here from the worst part of Minneapolis.” Five years later, on March 22, Camp opened The Shop together with two friends and the little coffee house soon became the hub of the neighborhood. Almost at the same time, the City of Spokane began looking at improving the street with lights and trees - South Perry became a pilot project of sorts in the city’s Centers and Corridors Growth Management plan. Camp went from business to business trying to start a business association. “Some people said it was a waste of time, that no one from outside the neighborhood would ever come here,” said Camp, who later sold The Shop business but still owns the building and the Altamont Pharmacy building. Camp said Mel Silva, who owned an antique store just up the street, was a great supporter of the neighborhood in those days. “He was all gung-ho about it, he helped out a ton and so did lots of other people.” Camp, who still lives in the neighborhood, loves how things are turning out these days. “Everything we did with The Shop, and later The Scoop, and the live music and the outdoor movies, was to bring people here,” said Camp, whose next project is a beer-centric saloon on East Sprague. “We wanted to get people to come from the outside of the neighborhood.” And today they do.

Burglary on South Hatch

Via e-mail from COPS volunteer and neighborhood ‘crime hound’ Sue Hille:
“Around midnight Saturday 5/15 there was a break-in and burglary on the 600 block of South Hatch. The residents came home to find the door kicked in. Police were called to investigate. Some things were taken, mostly stuff that’s small and easy to carry.
It’s a good idea to take pictures frequently of things in your home to help remember what you had in case of a burglary.
Also, give one copy of those pictures to a friend or relative to keep for you in case of a fire. Alarm systems can be pricy, but do help. Renter’s insurance is not terribly expensive and really a good idea.
The good news is that we have some really great new neighbors buying, living and raising food and families in the area.”

I couldn’t agree more, Sue. My house was burglarized some years back, I lost a lot of things, new and old, and it took me forever to come up with a complete list of what I was missing as I kept remembering things. It’s also a good idea to make an effort to get to know your neighbors, chat a little and share phone numbers.


Bike all year round, not just this week

Spokane bicycle advocate Barb Chamberlain stopped by the South Perry Blog this morning. We are fast approaching the end of ‘Bike to Work Week’ and Chamberlain said the tournout has been solid. “We have about 1,300 people registered and it’s not too late to register,” said Chamberlain. She’s also hoping more bike commuters will join Bike to Work Spokane on Facebook as a way to stay connected with the bike community in Spokane. “We may change our format a bit next year to where we sign people up year round, not just this week.” One goal of the Bike to Work Spokane group is to get a good estimate of how many people acutally bike commute. Last year’s bike count didn’t quite work out, said Chamberlain, because it was really nasty rainy weather and it was only possible to count bikers in a few locations. “If we sign people up year round, we’d get a much better estimate of how many people ride there bikes to work,” Chamberlain said. And then she put on her helmet and rode off.

Growing neighborhood businesses

It’s been a busy morning here on South Perry - lots of neighbors and business owners stopped by to chat and the theme of the morning was business development. Photographer Craig Sweat has had his studio in the neighborhood for a long time. “The business climate up here has not always been ideal,” Sweat said. “There just wasn’t a lot of foot traffic, it was difficult to draw people in.” That’s changed a bit over the past two years and Sweat said he likes what he’s seeing: “A few little boutiques, smaller places, kind of like what’s happening right now - it’s going the right way.” The Altamont Pharmacy Building is still vacant but there are consistent rumors that will change soon.

Someone - let’s just call him Mike - came in and shared some frustration about starting and operating a pop-up restaurant in Spokane. The original idea was to see if it’s possible to start a food vendor business for $100, cooking and selling food in various locations - hence the name ‘pop-up.’ Now Mike has hit a wall of permits and regulations, all meant to keep consumers safe of course, but at the same time limiting what he can do. “It can work,” said Mike. “Look at Portland - it’s a street food mecca. Look at Seattle. It’s about a cultural shift more so than anything else.” Keep an eye out for random acts of great food happening in your neighborhood.

Bike to work and blogging

I’ll be back at The Shop tomorrow morning, Thursday 5/20, at around 7 a.m. so come on in and chat for a bit, if you have time.

I’d really like to talk to a couple of people who are participating in Bike to Work Week - stop by and tell me about your commute.

A couple of readers have suggested I do something about the history of the South Perry District, which seems like an excellent idea. I’ve covered the area since 1998, so I’m pretty familiar with the recent history of the area, but I’d be very interested in talking to some long-term residents - people who’ve lived on and around South Perry for 25 years or more. I’d also like to hear from people who were born and grew up on South Perry 40 or more years ago, even if you moved away. It’s a diverse neighborhood, I’m sure there are some good stories out there just waiting to be told.




Parade Grand Marshall named

Willie Ann Earthman is this year’s Grand Marshall for the South Perry Parade. Volunteer Mari Haworth said she’s working to line up a classic car for Earthman to ride in - she’s one classy lady and she certainly deserves it.

Earthman celebrated her 100th birthday on July 13, 2008, and she’s still going strong. She enjoys helping “the elderly” and she’s been an usher at Bethel AME Church for more than 25 years.

I was fortunate to meet Earthman and write a profile about her and her amazing life back when she was just 99.

One thing I remember from the interview is that she makes her own herbal tinctures and even though she’s never had a drink in her life, one tincture for arthritis includes whiskey. “And don’t you buy no cheap whiskey now,” she said.

She grew up in Mississippi where at one point she ran a sawmill. In Spokane she was a cook and a housekeeper for many families.

Earthman left quite an impression on me and it totally made my day that she was chosen as this year’s Grand Marshall.

The parade takes place on Saturday July 17, starting at 10 a.m.



New president of SPBNA

The South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association elected a new president last week. Deb Conklin, pastor at Liberty Park United Methodist Church, is serving through this fall while former president Geoff White of the Perry Street Café is focusing his efforts completely on the upcoming fair and parade on July 17.
Conklin has lived in the South Perry neighborhood for three years, and prior to that she’s served in several smaller towns around Spokane.
“This is a unique association because it’s both a neighborhood and a business association,” said Conklin. “And it kind of ebbs and flows: sometimes we are wishing for more business people to come to our meetings, sometimes we are wishing for more neighbors.”
The SPBNA meets on the second Tuesday of every month, at 6 p.m. at the Perry  Street Café.
Conklin said right now SPBNA is working on community building in the neighborhood, which has welcomed several new businesses over the past couple of years.
“We have been working with the farmers market to find a good location,” said Conklin. “For now they are in the parking lot at The Shop, but they would like to perhaps locate around the cul-de-sac by the park.”
The farmers market opens its fifth season on June 3  from 3-7 p.m.
The Spokane Alliance has been working out of offices at Liberty Park United Methodist Church for some time and Conklin said getting involved the way she is now fits a broader movement within the protestant church.
“In mainline protestant circles there is a movement toward making the transition from church being a group that gathers for worship, to church being a group that reaches into the community,” said Conklin, so being involved with the neighborhood and business association is a natural fit for her.
The neighborhood has seen the addition of a vet clinic, a beauty salon, a yoga studio and bar over the past couple of years.
“I think the types of businesses that are coming right now are different from what they used to be,” Conklin said. “There really is a lot happening here right now.”

Children’s clothing swap this Saturday

The Spokane Buddhist Temple is having a clothing exchange for children ages newborn to 16 on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon. The Temple is asking for donations of clothes without tears, rips or stains. If you can’t make it on Saturday, donations may be dropped off downstairs, or after hours at the basement door, just north of the main stairs. On Saturday, participants can bring a bag of clothing, then start sorting from 10-10:30 a.m. When everything is sorted out, you get to pick clothes from 10:40-11:30 a.m. After that, you can pick items for friends who aren’t there. The Temple is asking for a $1 donation to participate. The Temple is located at 927 S. Perry Street. For more information e-mail

Arson in the neighborhood?

Read Kevin Graman’s story about the Saturday morning fire at the HiFumi En Apartments on East Eighth here. There has been two other suspected arson fires at the HiFumi En lately - and residents still can’t return.

Chickens anyone?

There are many reasons to love Spokane and I came across one of them this morning: I met a chicken on Rockwood Boulevard. A nice, plumb bronze-colored chicken. She was clearly busy with whatever it is chickens do on their morning walks, but it got me thinking: do any one here on South Perry keep chickens? Let me know if you do, I’d like to come by and visit the coop.

Lots to look forward to on South Perry

This year’s street fair is taking place on July 16-18 and it’s Geoff White of The Perry Street Cafe who’s the chair. Volunteers and ideas are always needed to pull off this community event - stay tuned for more updates - or leave a comment with a good suggestion here.

And don’t forget that the South Perry Farmers’ Market opens on June 3, from 3-7 p.m., in The Shop’s parking lot. It’s the market’s fifth season already.

The South Perry Blog and yours truly will be at The Perry Street Cafe on Thursday morning, from 7-10 a.m. Come in and chat for a bit - I’ll have a small stack of South Voice sections to hand out to the first dozen visitors I get.


South Perry crime watch

One of the things we can do on this blog is to share information and tips about neighborhood crime - kind of like a large blockwatch group. If there’s something going on in your neighborhood, shoot me a quick e-mail and I’ll share your tip - but I will not share your address.

Thursday morning, someone was peering in windows at a home in the area around Eighth Avenue and Hatch. The homeowner and the homeowner’s dog woke up around 2 a.m. because of the commotion on the front steps. No one was spotted outside, but the incident was reported to Crime Check at 456-2233.

Neighbors report repeated ‘drug running’ in the 500 block of South Hatch Road, between Sherman and Hartson. If you suspect drug related activity on your block - lots of comings and goings from one house, at all hours of the day; frequent stops by many different vehicles - the thing to do is to write down the time of day, a license plate (if you can safely see one) and the nature of the activity - then call Crime Check.

The COPS Station that covers South Perry is located at 3001 East Fifth Avenue and the front desk is staffed most days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. East Central COPS can be reached at 625-3330 or simply by stopping in during opening hours.

Electric car much loved by owner

Roger Imes calls it totally guiltless driving and he loves it. About two years ago he set out looking for an electric car – a NEV, neighborhood electric vehicle – and he found one in Ohio.

It cost him a little more than $13,000, including shipping to Spokane, and he has never regretted buying it.

“It is a minimal car. It will get you from A to B with a minimal impact on the environment,” said Imes, one of the owners of Lorien Herbs South Perry. “There is no oil, no water, no gasoline - you can drive it and you wont feel responsible for Middle Eastern wars or anything like that.”

The ZENN (Zero Emission, No Noise) vehicle, is registered like any ordinary car and it looks much like a mix between a covered golf car and a tiny ordinary car. It can’t go on the freeway, but it can be driven anywhere else. Charging the batteries takes a little more than four hours and it will take the car 25 miles.

“The batteries will last four or five years,” said Imes. “We hardly drive our other cars anymore.”
The ZENN has a top speed of 25 mph and it’s a roomy little thing: it has plenty of room for groceries or a nice-sized dog in the back.

Imes said it is crash tested and all that, but he’s not too worried about getting in a wreck.

“Frankly, I think it’s so light it would just bounce off the other vehicle,” Imes said.

And no, his power bill hasn’t gone up since he started charging the car at home.

“It is not the car for everyone, but I love it,” said Imes. “And it’s perfect for just getting around the neighborhood.”

Time for tea and dolls

Liberty Park United Methodist Church, which is located at 1526 E. 11th Avenue, is holding its annual tea on Thursday May 13 from noon to 2 p.m. Church members will display antique, vintage and cultural dolls, and guests are invited to bring their own dolls along for a visit.

On the menu are sandwiches, deviled eggs and veggies, as well as coffee, tea and cookies. And you get all that for just $3 per person. RSVP to the church by calling (509) 535-5905.

Emmanuel Life Center computer lab needs volunteers

The brand new computer lab at The Emmanuel Life Center isn’t lacking in technology - but it’s lacking a few warm bodies.
“We are kind of in a limbo right now where we can’t offer that many programs because we don’t have any volunteers, and we have a hard time finding volunteers because we don’t offer any programs,” said Krystie Ketterling, neighborhood networks coordinator for Kiemle and Hagood, and one of the people who is trying to get the computer lab off the ground.
There are 12 computers at the Learning Center and the kids in the area use the center for home work prep and internet access.
“We  are struggling to get the adults in here,” said Ketterling. “We are trying to help people move on in  their lives and reach some of their goals.”
Volunteers are needed on weekdays from 3-5 p.m. and have to know a little bit about computers and pass a background check. The Emmanuel Life Center is located at 631 S. Richard Allen Court.
Call Charles Williams at 509-981-6477

South Perry dog park idea

I got an e-mail from one of my South Perry neighbors last week. She had an interesting suggestion: how about turning that grassy area off Southeast Boulevard and 10th Avenue into a dog park?
Stopping by the other day, I noticed that lots of people are already walking their dogs there - so it seems to be a popular spot.
What I didn’t know is that it’s an underground water reservoir. So the property belongs to the City of Spokane’s Water Department, but hey, maybe it could work out?

The city and Spokanimal are already working together on developing a dog park closer to downtown.


South Perry Blog at The Shop Thursday

The South Perry Blog is coming to a coffee house near you. On May 6, (that’s Thursday morning) from 7-10 a.m. I’ll be at The Shop (924 S. Perry Street) consuming large amounts of coffee and handing out a free South Voice section to the first dozen of my neighbors who drop in for a little chat.

I’m looking forward to meeting you all - bring ideas big and small - I’ll be the woman with the laptop and the camera.

Traffic advisory on Southeast Boulevard

This just in from the City of Spokane:

Southeast Boulevard is closed from Perry Street to Rockwood; the wind has toppled over trees and they’ve pulled down power lines - please find a different route if you have to go somewhere.

Spokane Public Schools have the day off  so there are many kids out and about. Warn them(and everyone else) never to go near a downed power line.

To report a power outage call Avista Utilities at 1-800-227-9187.

If you have any windy pictures from South Perry, please send them in. Read a full report of this morning’s and early afternoon’s wind mayhem here.

The Lantern Tavern turned a year old

Quite a crowd gathered at The Lantern Tavern Friday night when the tiny bar celebrated its first birthday. I’m telling you, it was standing room only on the patio as neighbors and visitors indulged in great beers, wine and conversation.

It’s a bit chilly to sit outside, yet, but people didn’t seem to mind and The Lantern Tavern does have one of those nifty outdoor patio heates.

Happy Birthday - you’ve been a great addition to the neighborhood.

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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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