Latest from The Spokesman-Review
OLYMPIA — State to Boeing: How about Spokane for your new plane?
Low labor costs and short commute times mean aerospace giant should consider building its newest jetliner on the West Plains if it decides against a Puget Sound location, the state said in its official pitch for the 777X.
The Site Proposal Washington submitted in the multistate competition to land the assembly line and other facilities needed for the new plane lists the industrial park near Spokane International Airport as a possible alternative to Everett, where the current Boeing 777 is built.
“The Spokane region can provide an affordable alternative to other areas, due to its 18 percent lower business cost than the national average, one of the best commute times in the nation and the sixth lowest natural disaster rate,” said the proposal, which was obtained by the Associated Press under a public records request. Jim Camden, SR
What impact would a Boeing factory in the West Plains have for the region?
Citizens are encouraged to attend a workshop to discuss alternatives for an updated arterial plan that would coordinate transportation improvements connecting the various jurisdictions that make-up the West Plains area of Spokane County. The workshop is set for this Thursday, May 16th, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the library at Sunset Elementary School, 12824 12th Ave. in Airway Heights.
This workshop will be the second workshop included as part of a larger effort to identify and plan for the infrastructure needed to support growth and development on the West Plains. The City of Spokane is leading a multi-agency effort to explore these issues. The resulting arterial plan will be used to prioritize transportation projects and will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plans and other planning documents of the City and its many partners.
Besides the City, the project’s partners include Spokane County, the Spokane International Airport, the City of Airway Heights, WSDOT, Fairchild Air Force Base, the Spokane Tribe, the Kalispel Tribe, Spokane Transit Authority, the City of Cheney, the City of Medical Lake, Cheney School District and others.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers seems “misinformed” in her recent request to delay a government recommendation on the proposed Spokane tribal casino on the West Plains, the tribal chairman told a federal agency this week.
But the tribe won’t object to the requested 45-day delay, if the department doesn’t allow future attempts to delay the process “for reasons beyond meaningful justification.”
In a letter to a top Interior Department official, Tribal Council Chairman Rudy Peone said the reasons McMorris Rodgers listed in last week’s request for a delay don’t match the facts of the long process of studying the project . . .
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Spokane Mayor David Condon has added his name to the list of local leaders opposed to the Spokane Tribe of Indians’ proposal for a casino on the West Plains.
Condon joins Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and state Senate Democratic Majority Leader Lisa Brown among those who have formally opposed the casino.
The Spokane City Council will debate tonight if it also will condemn the proposal.
Condon said he’s concerned that its proximity to Fairchild Air Force Base could hurt the future of the base and force the military officials to move training operations away from Fairchild because of noise and other issues.
“If you can do the same training out your back door, it’s much better,” Condon said.
Condon wrote a letter last month to the Bureau of Indian Affairs expressing his opposition. In an interview last week, he said he has asked city staff members to examine the plan to determine if the city should officially oppose the casino, as well.
The mayor said he’s concerned that a second West Plains casino could divert business from within city limits, which would result in lost tax revenue.
“In an environment where the city already is required to trim its budget an expenditures on essential functions, a futher hit would have significant negative impacts on the city,” Condon said.
The Spokane City Council will wait until next week to consider opposing a Spokane Tribe of Indians casino project proposed for the West Plains.
Councilman Mike Fagan is sponsoring a resolution opposing the casino. He requested last week that the council suspend normal public notice requirements to allow a vote on Monday instead of giving the public more than a week’s notice before a vote. He said at the meeting Monday, however, that he had changed his mind after hearing from constituents who opposed to moving forward without following the usual public notice procedure. Council President Ben Stuckart said the wasn’t enough support on the council to suspend the rules. At least five of seven members would have had to agree.
The council also opted not to vote on a $4.1 million contract to build a sewage overflow tank that city administrators had requested the council also suspend public notice requirements to approve on Monday.
Both issues will be considered at the council’s March 26 meeting, which will be held at the East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St.
Fagan said he has the support from three other council members and expects his resolution to be approved 4-3.
The Spokane City Council on Monday will consider rushing its normal voting procedure to condemn the proposed Spokane Tribe of Indians casino on the West Plains.
Councilman Mike Fagan is sponsoring the resolution to put the city on record as opposing the casino and has asked that the council to suspend its rules so it can vote on the matter on Monday instead of giving the public more than a week’s notice before a vote.
“I feel that there’s a sense of urgency,” Fagan said.
The public usually gets well over a week’s notice about any issue on which the City Council conducts a vote. Notice for the resolution, however, wasn’t released until Thursday when Monday’s agenda was distributed.
Fagan said that the council’s schedule wouldn’t allow a vote on the matter until April 9 unless a vote is taken on Monday because the March 26 meeting is focused on neighborhoods and the April 2 meeting has been cancelled.
In order to suspend the rules, five of the seven council members would have to approve voting on the matter on Monday.
City Council President Ben Stuckart, who supports the tribe’s casino project, said there’s no reason to rush the resolution.
“If it’s an important enough issue, you should give the public time to know about it, be knowledgeable and prepare testimony,” he said.
Preparing to open a new Arby's restaurant near Airway Heights, the Spokane Tribe is hosting a Job Fair Tuesday and Wednesday at the Spokane downtown WorkSource office, 130 S. Arthur.
Spokane city boundaries will expand by nearly 10 square miles on Jan. 1.
The Spokane City Council on Monday unanimously approved the city’s West Plains annexation, which includes the Spokane International Airport. Monday’s vote was largely a formality. The city, Spokane County and Airway Heights negotiated the annexation deal and gave preliminary approval to the expansion in 2009.
Airway Heights will grow by about a half-square mile next year. The land includes the sales-tax rich Walmart and was long claimed by Spokane.
Although it has no say over the annexations, the State Boundary Review Board for Spokane County will hold an informational meeting about the city expansions at 3 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Spokane County Public Works Building, 1026 W. Broadway Ave.
The annexations are the first in the state to move forward under a state law that allows cities to annex land by negotiating with county and other affected governments. Under the law, the review board has no say over the boundary changes.
A long-rumored plan that a major company would build a large distribution center on the West Plains came to fruition Thursday.
Caterpillar Inc., a major provider of construction equipment, announced it's building a 500,000 square foot center on the West Plains, not far from the Spokane Airport.
The location will be used by Caterpillar's Logistics Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. The logistics group provides a wide range of parts and support for service companies in construction, automotive and other industries.
Construction is due to start this summer, according to a press release by the company.
Rich Hadley, president and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated, said, in a press release: "Caterpillar's announcement is significant news for the entire region. The company came to our Economic Development team earlier this year for assistance with site section and an incentive portfolio.
"Having competed with several other communities for the distribution center, Greater Spokane Incorporated is proud of the intensive, collaborative efforts of the Governor and Washington State Department of Commerce, Spokane County, the City of Spokane, the various utilities, the private property owners, and the Spokane International Airport to convey the advantages Spokane offers. The region's great transportation infrastructure, competitively priced available sites, along with incentives from the state and county, were factors in Caterpillar's decision."
If you or a good friend works at the West Plains Goodrich brake production site, watch this video. It will make you feel proud of American technology.
The video, produced by Boeing and found on YouTube on Wednesday, shows what happens when the Boeing 747 Dreamliner is forced to abort a full-speed takeoff on the runway.
The massive kinetic energy of the aircraft has to be slowed by carbon wheel brakes developed and made by Goodrich, at plants such as the one we have on the West Plains.
Quite a feat. Feel free to share this video.
The draft version of the West Plains Spokane International Airport transportation study, that looks at continued development of the business park and the effects that will have on the roads out there, was released this morning.
There's a month left to comment on it. Want to see what it has to say, maybe add your 2 cents? Click here to go to the online version of the study.