OLYMPIA – U.S. Highway 395 from the Canadian to Oregon borders should be named after Tom Foley, the 30-year congressman from Eastern Washington who rose to speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Legislature said Thursday.
The Senate gave final approval to a resolution honoring Foley, who also served as ambassador to Japan under President Bill Clinton, and asking the state Department of Transportation to name that route the Thomas S. “Tom” Foley Memorial Highway.
It turned down an amendment by Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, to name the stretch of 395 from Ritzville south for Foley, and to name the part from Spokane north for the late Sam Grashio, a highly decorated Spokane soldier who survived the Bataan death march in World War II.
Foley secured the money to turn 395 between Ritzville and the Tri-Cities into a four-lane, concrete highway, and deserves the honor, Baumgartner said. But the state should also honor Grashio, a war hero “that a lot of people are forgetting,” he added.
Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said the four-lane stretch of the highway south of Ritzville is a “tremendous gift to our state” and a fitting honor to Foley. But the part of the road that goes to the north is from a different era.
“Mr. Foley would be thrilled to share part of that highway with a great patriot like Mr. Grashio,” said Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla.
Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, said the agreement to name the highway for Foley had been worked out along the route. He offered to work with Baumgartner and others to find another route or road to honor Grashio.
The amendment failed 24-25; the resolution then passed 40-7.
(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the vote on the amendment.)