March 25, 2010 in City

Siddoway chosen to fill Appeals Court vacancy

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Spokane attorney involved in a couple of the most contentious civic projects in the past 20 years was named Wednesday to an opening on the state Court of Appeals.

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Laurel Siddoway to the Division III Appeals Court bench in Spokane, filling the slot of retired Judge John Schultheis. Siddoway, a partner at Randall and Danskin, has 30 years of experience in such complex areas as contracts, securities and real estate law, and a special interest in the First Amendment, Gregoire said.

But Siddoway might be best known in Spokane for two issues over the past two decades: working with the Friends of the Falls to thwart construction of the proposed Lincoln Street Bridge in the 1990s, and serving as the city of Spokane’s special counsel for River Park Square litigation in the first half of the last decade.

“I’m so glad it’s not there,” she said of the proposed bridge, which would have blocked a view of the Spokane Falls.

Siddoway was hired by then-mayor John Powers in 2000 as the city was becoming entangled in the legal quagmire involving the mall’s parking garage, its developer and investors in garage bonds. The mall is owned and operated by development subsidiaries of Cowles Co., the parent company of The Spokesman-Review.

Although some City Council members and opponents of the mall project wanted the cases to go to trial, Siddoway worked with Powers and later with Mayor Jim West on a legal strategy that led to a series of settlements.

Siddoway said the politics of the garage controversy were left to the voters to sort out. “My role was to get the best overall financial outcome for the city.”

On Wednesday, one of the garage deal’s toughest critics, former City Council member Steve Eugster, praised Siddoway’s appointment as good news for the Appeals Court.

“We had our differences of opinion, but she had to call some shots based on the information she had,” Eugster said. “She’s a smart person who carries herself very well in the arena of conflict, a level-headed person who tries to understand the facts and apply the rule of law to them.”

Siddoway also helped craft the employee purchase of Rosauers supermarkets and serves as legal counsel for KXLY-TV.

She is a graduate of the University of Utah Law School. She and her husband Doug, also an attorney at Randall and Danskin, have three sons.

She is scheduled to be sworn in May 10.

It was one of two Appeals Court appointments announced Wednesday by Gregoire. Former King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman, currently an attorney at Judicial Dispute Resolution LLC, was named to an opening on the Division I bench in Seattle.


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