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

Scott Chesney lands job at financing startup

Says departure will not impede him working on finance projects with the city

Former Spokane city planning director Scott Chesney has been hired for a new position at a Spokane startup, Columbia International Finance. Columbia International was launched earlier this year by Spokane businessman Pete Chase, who also started a number of local businesses, including Purcell Systems. Chesney was fired from his city job last month for reasons that city officials haven’t publicly explained. Chesney’s new job will be director of project management at a company whose mission is finding and coordinating financing for public-private projects in Washington. “We intend to lend a hand to public entities and communities when other methods of financing simply won’t work,” Chase said in a news release. Chase also said, “Scott is a powerful addition to the CIF team. He shares our mindset for innovative projects that make a difference.” Chesney said he sees his job as requiring creative ways to make major projects turn out successfully. One of his first projects is working with a western Washington community college looking to build and finance safe and comfortable student housing. He said his municipal experience, both before and during his tenure in Spokane, helped him find solutions that involved urging assorted government departments to work together on a project. Chesney also said he doesn’t see his recent dismissal impeding financing efforts that might involve the City of Spokane. “Having worked with many cities in my consulting career, our client cities knew we brought projects that met city goals. Our work in Spokane will do the same, and I foresee positive interactions with my former colleagues.” Chesney was hired as Spokane’s planning director in 2011. Over three years he established strong ties to area business groups and developers. After his departure, several area developers met with Condon but failed to convince the mayor to rehire Chesney. Some council members also met with Condon, concerned that Chesney’s departure was a step backward in dealing with planning issues. Chesney’s background includes a career working in architecture, city planning and consulting. “My passion is urban revitalization through the infusion of capital, transforming communities along the way,” Chesney said in the release.