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Look Around, It’s Still A Friendly Place Pro: Family Town Spokane Is Still A Small City Masquerading As A Big One. People Help Out. Feel Connected.

In a bagel shop the other day, I ran into Bill Pupo, assistant city manager. We both grew up in Spokane in the 50s, 60s and 70s when Spokane was such a great place to raise a child that no one even realized it.

We chatted about all the boys and girls we grew up with who are now running things. There’s Judi Carl, Spokane’s first woman police sergeant. And Sam Cozza, district court judge. And Dan Petek, the organizer of Junior Bloomsday. And more lawyers than we can count.

Many of the people I grew up with, and they weren’t all privileged South Siders either, are now raising their own children in Spokane. It’s still a wonderful city for kids. Spokane was great in the old days because our families knew and cared about each other. Because we could jump on our bikes and ride to the parks. Because our schools were good and we felt relatively safe, though the brutal death of Candy Rogers in 1959 terrified us.

Yes, things have changed. In the old days, we said goodbye to our parents on summer mornings and explored (in bare feet!) the parks, the river, the neighborhoods. We’d return at night, exhausted with friends and play. Our parents didn’t worry. Now parents do. But Spokane is still a small city masquerading as a big one. People help out. Feel connected. Pitch in when tragedy strikes. The children of Spokane can plug into those values, because those values haven’t yet disappeared.

We do have some big-city problems. Gangs discovered Spokane, but community-based policing is preventing them from expanding. Some parents are placing their children in private schools, but not as in bigger cities where only the have-nots attend public school.

Our parks are still beautiful. The Spokane River still rushes through town. You can still have a conversation with a stranger and realize you know several people in common. You can still run into a childhood pal in a bagel shop and be happy that your buddies turned out well and stuck around to raise their own kids here.

Some children live in poverty in Spokane, but some always did. And they lived with more shame and less help in the old days.

So don’t let some national survey convince you that Spokane is losing its family friendly reputation. We’re still a great place for people of all ages.

, DataTimes MEMO: See the Con: Family town editorial under the headline: But not all included in favorite mantra

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board

See the Con: Family town editorial under the headline: But not all included in favorite mantra

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board



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