Valley Groups Try To Form 4 Little Cities
Some people who want to form a city in the Spokane Valley can’t seem to take no, no or no for an answer.
Two weeks after Valley voters soundly rejected a third attempt to form their own city, neighborhood groups have started efforts to form four separate municipalities in the unincorporated areas east of Spokane.
“Why do it? Why not?” said John Trechter Jr., a 45-year-old chemist who wants to create Hillcrest Park, a city of 20,000 people. “What it boils down to is representation and having some control over your life.”
Trechter and three others, all backers of previous attempts to form a single Valley city, filed notices of proposed incorporation with county commissioners Tuesday and Wednesday.
That triggered a process that could result in public hearings in a month and four incorporation elections within a year.
The four proposed cities - Opportunity, Dishman, Park Place and Hillcrest Park - range in population from 9,000 to 20,000.
They all are located in the west-central area of the Valley, roughly between Interstate 90, 44th Avenue, Havana Street and Evergreen Road.
Previous incorporation proposals covered much larger areas and involved much larger populations, one upwards of 90,000.
Many thought the Valley incorporation movement was gone for good after a May 16 election in which nearly 59 percent of voters rejected a proposal that would have created a city of 73,000.
But leaders of the latest efforts said Wednesday they don’t plan to give up, especially with a plan to consolidate Spokane city and county governments heading to the ballot in November.
New cities would not be allowed to form under the county freeholders’ consolidation proposal, and a diehard group is convinced that incorporation is the only way Valley residents can get a fair shake in local government.
Leaders of incorporation efforts in 1990, 1994 and this year campaigned unsuccessfully on platforms that forming a city would give Valley residents more of a say in local government.
That appears to be one of the driving forces this time as well.
Ed Meadows, who favors incorporating Opportunity, said his neighborhood would have less say in a consolidated government than it does now under county government.
The freeholders who wrote the consolidation plan submitted their proposal to county commissioners Wednesday afternoon.
Three of the four proincorporation groups filed their paperwork ahead of the freeholders, which may mean they’ll get a chance to take their propositions to the ballot even if consolidation passes.
They still must collect signatures from 10 percent of the registered voters within the boundaries of the proposed cities before the propositions would be eligible for the ballot.
People who successfully fought against past Valley cities called the latest proposals outlandish.
“It’s crazy, just crazy,” said Bob Blum, a Valley resident and incorporation critic. “Where’s the tax base when they’ve got them all divided up like that? We’ll have to get out there and shoot these down early.”
One freeholder said the move might benefit his group’s proposal.
County voters elected the freeholders in 1992 to find solutions to regional problems, like growing traffic congestion and a lack of sewers in the urban areas of the county, freeholder Mike Senske said.
Creating more governments won’t make that task any easier, and the prospect may convince some people that consolidation is a good idea, Senske said.
“I’m sorry to hear they’re proposing four cities out there, but God bless them,” he said.