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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Paul Turner: What do eight out of 10 Spokane transplants have in common?

Warm evening light filters across the downtown Spokane skyline, June 13, 2017. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Warm evening light filters across the downtown Spokane skyline, June 13, 2017. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Perhaps you saw that story about Seattle being America’s most-educated big city.

It noted that among those moving there in recent years, eight out of 10 newcomers have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

That’s impressive. No doubt about it. But it made me wonder.

Spokane cannot match those stats. But what can be said of transplants to our area? What’s something eight out of 10 newcomers to Spokane might have in common?

Here are a few guesses. Which one sounds about right to you?

Most of those relocating to the Spokane area:

Fell in love with the idea of Spokane being not too big and not too small.

Are looking to start over in a place where nobody cares who their family is or where they went to school.

Are retired law enforcement officers from California.

Were drawn by the presence of their free-range grandchildren.

Came via a witness relocation program.

Are returning after getting out of the Air Force.

Got kicked out of their book clubs in the Midwest.

Were somehow surprised to learn a city this close to Canada experiences winter.

Watch a lot of those “America’s Most Wanted” shows and thought this area looked promising.

Already owned a pickup.

Wanted a place with low humidity but does not feel like a pizza oven for six months.

Were under the impression their goatee would make them something of a trendsetter here.

Had sized up Spokane as a “Baby on Board” kind of town.

Thought this would be a place where they could obsess about home and yard stuff and not be judged harshly.

Attracted by the microbrew beer.

Had grown tired of living in places where everyone wore lots of makeup.

Wanted to be able to step outside on summer nights without becoming an involuntary blood donor.

Came for the waters.

Had never seen a magpie.

Understood that Spokane’s love of camping on the weekend made this the perfect place for an up-and-coming young burglar.

Thought it would be a good idea to live in a place where many people are capable of changing a flat tire.

Wanted to live in a place where not all the skiers reside in gated communities.

Crave lentils and wanted to be closer to the source.

Coming from places where people would be amused by the notion that downtown Spokane is dangerous.

Anti-vaxxers fleeing states where you are required to acknowledge science.

Found Spokane residents appealingly optimistic about what’s in store for the city in the near future.

Wanted to be part of a like-minded community of people who resent bicyclists.

Coming here because grandparents came to Spokane for Expo ’74 and always wanted to move here but felt trapped in high-paying jobs where they were.

Saw some appealing options for public officials they could vote against.


In the matter of my being unimpressed with the snow forts built by kids in 2019 Spokane, Suzanne Harris suggested it’s not simply a case of contemporary children lacking “determination and industry.”

The key, she argued, is insufficient quantities of packable snow. She rightly noted that it’s difficult to construct a decent snow fort out of powder.

The discussion of snow forts filled Ken Wilder with nostalgic feelings about his childhood in New York state. “At 86, I just wish that I was 75 years younger to enjoy the activity again.”

And Stephen Wasson said it’s as simple as this: “There are those who know how to build snow forts and those who don’t.”

On the subject of what electronic eavesdroppers would pick up if your home were bugged, Ellen Sherriffs said the guys out in the white van might get an earful of “Don’t eat that!”

Karen Gemmell also had an answer. “The takeaway would be ‘Does she not know by now that the dog is not going to answer her?’ ”

Carlin Jude pointed out that Spokane street mysteries are not restricted to the South Hill. He offered the North Side for an example. “You expect sometimes to be driving on one street then find the street has a different name without you making a turn.”

Howard Glass also shared a story about Spokane streets confusion.

“Every year Sue and I invite people to our home for Passover Seder. One year a guest arrived late. He had gone to the house equivalent to ours but one block over, walked in and found a bunch of people he knew. As they were sitting down to their Seder, he noticed Sue and I weren’t there.

“That’s when he realized he was in the wrong place and drove around the block to our house. I wonder how many Seders were in progress that night here in the Jewish Quarter of Spokane.”

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