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

Mayor Nadine Woodward nominates new Spokane planning director


After nearly four years, the city of Spokane is finally poised to have a new planning director.

Mayor Nadine Woodward announced Thursday that she has nominated Spencer Gardner as planning director, with the City Council expected to vote on his confirmation on Jan. 24.

Gardner, who earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spent the past dozen years in the private sector working for planning and design firms.

“Spencer is a leader, mentor, and innovator who is experienced in bringing diverse voices together around complicated project, transportation and regional planning needs,” Woodward said in a statement. “I am excited about the vision he will bring as we pursue housing and growth opportunities.”

Gardner last worked for Toole Design, the website of which describes him as a data and mapping specialist who has developed transportation plans for communities.

Gardner would not be a complete newcomer to city government, as he volunteered in the development of the city’s Sustainability Action Plan. He also previously served as a board member at the nonprofit Spokane Housing Ventures.

The City Council has long called on the administration to bolster staffing in the planning department – which helps develop and interpret land-use policies – in large part to help address the city’s ongoing housing crisis.

Pending confirmation by the council, Gardner is expected to begin in February.

The city’s last permanent planning director, Lisa Key, left the city in March 2018.