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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane has potholes. Domino’s Pizza has a grant to fill them.

UPDATED: Wed., June 13, 2018

FILE – A car hits a pothole on Freya near Hartson on Feb. 17, 2017, in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – A car hits a pothole on Freya near Hartson on Feb. 17, 2017, in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Domino’s Pizza canceled its “30 minutes or less” guarantee five years ago. Was the move prompted by the potholes along our nation’s obstacle-course-like roadways?

If the pizza chain’s latest marketing gambit is any indication, yes, it was the potholes.

The company’s “Paving for Pizza” pothole-repair program launched this week in four test cities: Athens, Georgia; Bartonville, Texas; Burbank, California; and Milford, Delaware.

Don’t expect it to come to Spokane.

Marlene Feist, director of strategic development for the city’s Public Works and Utilities Department, said the city would welcome any money to help the city fill the thousands of potholes it deals with every year, but doubted the chain could contribute much to one of our defining issues.

“When I looked at the Domino’s program, they’ve filled five potholes, eight potholes,” she said. “The thing is, we’re over 3,000 potholes filled to date in 2018.”

To be precise, 3,037 potholes have been filled within city limits this year. That’s almost 19 potholes a day. Last year, the city filled about 4,800 potholes, which costs about $200 per hole.

Milford received a Domino’s grant for $5,000, which covered the repair of 40 potholes.

The city used its own crews, who stenciled Domino’s logo and “Oh, yes we did” on the first few repairs. Domino’s is soliciting nominations for more cities, and Feist said if Spokane is nominated and chosen, it surely would do something similar.

“If they gave us funds to fill five potholes, we’d fill five potholes,” she said. “But we’re not going to let Domino’s fill our potholes.”

As for branding the potholes with a Domino’s logo, Feist said the city probably would be open to it.

“If that’s the price, that we have to spray-paint a stencil, then probably. I’d hate to turn away good money,” she said. “I guess we’d cross that bridge when we got there.”

Regardless, Feist said the campaign to fill the nation’s potholes has worked. For Domino’s. She noted that KFC had a similar promotion in 2009 that helped fix potholes in five American cities, none of them Spokane.

“It’s just kind of a marketing stunt,” she said. “It’s really just a guerrilla marketing technique. You putting it in the newspaper is exactly what they want.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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