August 13, 2013 in City

Work will restore the original colors to Avista powerhouse

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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The Upper Falls Powerhouse on the Spokane River is getting a new, historically accurate paint job in time for the 40th anniversary of Expo ’74 next year.

Avista Corp. officials said Monday that the paint scheme will match the building’s original colors from the 1920s.

The main body of the powerhouse will be peach while windows and a railing will sport a light blue. In addition, yellow will adorn portions of the railing, said Debbie Simock, spokeswoman for Avista. The seawall above the waterline is going to be painted gray.

The power plant is neoclassical with elements of art deco design.

Work by a contractor started on Monday and should continue for about three months.

In addition to the historic paint scheme, crews will be rebuilding a bridge across Riverfront Park’s “theme stream” of columnar basalt and small waterfalls. The new bridge will be capable of handling heavier loads.

Non-native vegetation growing on the Spokane River bank adjacent to the powerhouse will be taken out, along with old, abandoned concrete ducts that once carried water to the powerhouse. The plan calls for merging the concrete powerhouse with native surroundings.

The Upper Falls work is occurring at the same time other crews are making improvements to Huntington Park along the lower falls. That project involves removal of a parking lot and construction of a new plaza on the north side of City Hall. The plaza will be used for public gathering space with views of the lower falls and downstream river gorge.

A parking lot adjacent to the Upper Falls powerhouse will be closed during construction. Another lot to the south of that will be closed from Sept. 3 through 30. The lot immediately east of Post Street will remain open.

In addition to the 40th anniversary next year of Spokane’s 1974 World’s Fair, Avista will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of its origins as Washington Water Power Co.

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