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In brief: Spokane HUD office will close, cutting 5 jobs

The federal government is closing its Housing and Urban Development office in Spokane and eliminating five jobs.

HUD is in the midst of a reorganization to provide services more efficiently. Spokane’s field office at the Thomas S. Foley Courthouse downtown is one of 16 being closed, the agency reported Wednesday.

Spokane’s HUD office serves Eastern Washington and North Idaho. It reviews and monitors loan insurance programs for single-family and multifamily housing projects. And it has one program manager reviewing insurance for health care facility loans.

HUD will still have a Seattle regional office, HUD spokesman Lee Jones said.

Spokane’s five staff workers will be offered buyouts or the option to move to another location, Jones said.

Over the next three years, HUD said the restructuring could save $45 million to $50 million.

Chevrolet Spark EV gets 82 miles per charge

DETROIT – General Motors said Wednesday that the battery-powered version of its Chevrolet Spark mini-car can travel up to 82 miles on a single charge, putting it among the leaders in mass-market electric vehicles sold in the U.S.

The Spark EV also gets the equivalent of 119 miles per gallon in testing monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. GM said that makes it the most efficient car available for sale to the public. The figure is for combined city and highway driving.

The tiny electric Chevrolet goes on sale in July in Oregon and California. GM hasn’t released the price but has said it will be less than $32,500, excluding a $7,500 federal tax credit. The company also hasn’t said when it will go on sale in other states.

The Spark enters the market at a time when gasoline prices nationwide are relatively low. Lower gas prices and a limited range have held down U.S. electric car sales.