Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Hey Google, Spokane has a trash-eating goat statue

Spokane hasn't gone to the extremes of some other places competing in the Google Fiber for Communities contest.

Mayor Mary Verner hasn't jumped in an icy lake, for instance. Nor has she followed Topeka's lead in changing the city's name. (Apparently Spogoogle isn't catchy enough.) But that doesn't mean city leaders are gimmick-free in their effort to woo Google. Verner showed off this video at Monday's City Council meeting, during which the council voted unanimously to support the city's effort to win the contest. Officials are asking residents to send e-mails in support of the project and to become Facebook friends with the city's Google Fiber Facebook page. It's also organizing a "flash mob" to meet for a photo in Riverfront Park on Wednesday.

It's all part of Spokane's "Hey Google, Pick Spokane" campaign. Google announced last month that it was soliciting proposals from local governments that wish to be home to a broadband network that Google says will be more than 100 times faster than the Internet service most Americans use. Google said it hopes as a result of the contest to be able to offer Internet service "at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people." The deadline for governments to submit applications to Google is Friday.

Verner said in a brief interview after her presentation Monday night that Spokane's gimmicks are "pretty tame" compared to those of some other cities, but, she added: "We have all the valid arguments that we should be selected."

The city's video, which is in a newscast format and is set in Verner's office, talks up the University District, hospitals and businesses that focus on green technology, like solar power, as reasons to select Spokane.

It also gives props to Spokane's unusual use of vacuum technology.

As the narrator says (at the 4:40 mark), "Spokane has a long history of deploying technological advances that contribute to our community's well-being," footage appears of Spokane's trash-eating goat statue in Riverfront Park as it sucks a piece of garbage out of a visitor's hand.

Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

Follow Jonathan online: