For the third time in six years, Spokane Valley incorporation supporters lost at the ballot box Tuesday.
Voters turned down the latest proposal, which would have formed a new city of 73,000 in growing suburbs east of Spokane.
The area would have been Washington’s seventh-largest city.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, 6,266 voters, or 41 percent, cast votes in favor of incorporation, while 8,922, or 59 percent, voted against it. The measure needed a simple majority to pass.
Only people within the proposed city’s boundaries were eligible to vote.
A 1990 proposal to incorporate gained 33 percent approval, while a second measure won 44 percent last year.
Members of the group Citizens for Valley Incorporation, which has led all three incorporation drives, argued a city government would give Spokane Valley residents greater political autonomy and improve public services. They said valley residents have little voice in a county of 385,000 citizens.
Incorporation opponents said the move would increase taxes, divide neighborhoods and create an unnecessary additional layer of government.