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Soon-to-be Spokanites should know the facts

Tue., Dec. 8, 2009

Let me be the first to welcome all those West Plains dwellers who are destined to become Spokanites thanks to the city’s biggest land grab since 1907.

Excuse me. I meant biggest annexation.

Like a giant carnivorous amoeba, Spokane will officially gobble almost 10 square miles of land west of the Sunset Hill on Jan. 1, 2012.

True, that’s also the year when the entire world will supposedly end.

But what if that exciting event turns out to be another hoax, like Y2K or Tiger Woods being faithful to his wife? A lot of people will find themselves Spokane residents with virtually no clue about their new town, that’s what.

To keep that from happening, I have assembled a few “Fun Facts” about Spokane that for some reason never appear in the tourist guides.

•The stately Spokane City Hall building was once a department store where my dad bought me a pair of cordovan wingtip shoes for the seventh-grade dance.

•Though only slightly more populated than Tacoma, Spokane still smells waaay better.

•Spokane won the right to host the upcoming national skating event after being snubbed by “Smurfs on Ice.”

•Morning Star Boys’ Ranch officials often refer to ranch alumni as “our future litigants.”

•Despite all that fancy Doppler radar technology, beloved KREM weathercaster Tom Sherry still prefers the Magic 8 Ball as his “go-to forecasting tool.”

•The U.S. Army often uses Spokane’s pockmarked streets to test the shock absorbers on assault vehicles bound for Afghanistan.

•Despite the “strong mayor” hype, Spokane is actually ruled by a “one-term mayor” form of government.

•During a recent meeting, Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan set a Guinness Book world record for thinking, “You’re such a gasbag” 1,100 times about fellow Councilman Al French.

•Spokane public transit innovators are considering not only bringing back the trolley, but also the steam locomotive, the horse and buggy, and the oxcart.

•When temperatures drop, as they have lately, some resourceful East Sprague Avenue hookers have been spotted prancing about in racy leopard-print Snuggies.

•The downtown Spokane apartment market is so depressed that Realtors are offering a “condos for chompers” program that lets buyers use their gold teeth as a down payment on a posh loft.

•Spokane Mayor Mary Verner’s 2010 budget includes several tasty marmot recipes.

•The Avista power company will soon open a chain of convenient shopping mall kiosks where ratepayers can pay their heating bills by selling their plasma.

•To ease overcrowding at the Spokane County Jail, the Riverfront Park gondolas have been converted into “moving cells with a view.”

•The downtown bus plaza is run by the STA, which stands for Spokane Transient Authority.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman- Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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