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Doug Clark: While we’re officializing, how about …

Doug Clark
Doug Clark

You know, I sometimes think that I deserve one of those do-gooder Mayor Condon Coins, what with all the heavy lifting I have to do around here.

Take last week. The City Council, perhaps as a sign of spring, awoke from their hibernation and decided to name the ponderosa pine as Spokane’s official city tree.

Now, I can’t recall ever hearing any residential clamor about the ponderosa’s lack of an official status.

But no matter.

The important thing here is that the City Council actually did something for a change. So we can’t discount the effort, despite how silly it might seem to be.

Trouble is, after deciding to put the tree in the same league with the lilac, our official flower and parade, the council just gave up and dozed off again.

None of our leaders, it seemed, even gave a thought about how many other people, places and things are deserving of the same Spofficial treatment.

You know, like our official fungus.

Sorry. I meant county prosecutor.

And so in an effort to help, I called upon my readers to keep the momentum flowing. Today I present the Top 10 nominations gleaned from their submissions.

These can be made official at a future council meeting, presuming those sad sacks ever wake up again.

So here are Spokane’s …

1. Official Color – Brown. “Spokane has more old rundown brown buildings per square mile than any other city in the western United States,” claimed the submitter, Marc Martyn.

(I’ll admit I never thought about this. So I drove downtown via the freeway and looked out at the cityscape and … OK. Brown it is.)

2. Official Greeter – Panhandling Freeway Off-Ramp Guy/Gal.

(Question: Do you think any of them really has ever worked for food?)

3. Official Bird Now Allowed in the City – The Chicken.

(Thanks to Council President Ben Stuckart’s new “urban farm-and-feud ordinance,” The Pig, The Cowpie and The Gap-Toothed Hayseed can also be included in this category.)

4. Official Honorary Council Member – George McGrath.

(This was submitted by Sheryl McGrath, which would be a conflict of interest. Except for one thing: IT’S SO TRUE!)

5. Official Pest – The Box Elder Bug.

(This is a great choice considering my past homestead infestations. Although I would have also accepted Tweakers, Eddie Ray Hall or Shirtless Downtown Felons on Bicycles.)

6. Official Vehicle – LaBoata, The Boat Car.

(Tim Lorentz, LaBoata’s proud skipper, will be very pleased to hear this.)

7. Official Statue – The Garbage Goat.

(Just thinking about that sucker makes me laugh.)

8. Official Goatee – Spokane police Chief Frank Straub.

(I never noticed this because, well, whoever heard of a police chief with a goatee?)

9. Official Plant – Spokannabis or Spokapulco Gold.

(An obvious no-brainer, both figuratively and literally.)

10. Official Casino – A tie between Northern Quest and the Casino That Northern Quest Doesn’t Want Built.

This is such a good start.

Hopefully, in a few years this “making things official” trend will be just like our Sister City program.

Meaning that we’ll have so many that no one will take any of it seriously or remember how or why it ever started in the first place.

And now for the good news.

As promised, the top submitters will each get a free ticket to my upcoming roast of Mayor David Condon, which takes place at the Bing Theater, 7:30 p.m., on May 15.

Winners are: Chris Powell, Jock Swanstrom, Tim Nolan, Marshall Smith, Dick Parker, Mark Donoghue, along with the aforementioned Martyn and McGrath.

And that makes it official!

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

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.