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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Innovate WA on the chopping block

OLYMPIA – A state agency with roots in Spokane’s 1980s push to attract more high-tech jobs to the region would be eliminated under legislation approved this week by the House.

Innovate Washington would cease to exist and its Riverpoint building, leases on other office space in the area, reports and even furniture would be turned over to Washington State University under a bill that passed Thursday evening on an 88-9 vote… .

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Brown packs up for WSU-Spokane

Sen. Lisa Brown pauses while packing her office to take a phone call.

OLYMPIA – As she packed up the memorabilia from 20 years in the Legislature, Lisa Brown was preparing Thursday to take charge of a dream for Spokane that was even older.

In January, Brown will trade her role as Senate majority leader for the job of chancellor of the Washington State UniversitySpokane campus.

WSU President Elson Floyd informed some of Eastern Washington’s top political leaders Thursday afternoon that Brown, 56, was his choice to run the Riverpoint campus and its fledgling medical school – a school that she helped midwife by pushing key appropriations through the Legislature for projects like the Biomedical and Health Science Building now under construction.

“It’s going to be as challenging as being the leader of the Senate Democrats,” she said, although possibly with fewer cats to herd.

She’ll replace Brian Pitcher, who has served as WSU-Spokane chancellor since 2005. Pitcher, 63, will remain at WSU-Spokane in a “leadership role” and advise the university on its other urban campuses in the Tri-Cities and Vancouver, Floyd said.

Brown’s next job has been a subject of great speculation around the Capitol . . . 

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Brown to be WSU-Spokane chancellor

Sen. Lisa Brown will move from the leading Senate Democrats to leading the WSU-Spokane campus.

Brown was named chancellor of WSU-Spokane this afternoon by President Elson Floyd.

The Spokane Democrat did not seek re-election this year and retires in December after 20 years in the Legislature. During that time she worked to find state funding for the Riverpoint campus  just east of downtown Spokane, where WSU and Eastern Washington University share facilities with the community colleges, and Gonzaga and Whitworth universities also offer programs. 

The new anchor of the campus is a new medical school a collaboration between the Riverpoint institutions, the University of Washington and the program that trains physicians for Idaho, Alaska, Montana and Wyoming as well as Washington.