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

50 years ago in Expo history: Not many complaints had come in about the fair, but the ones that did centered on safety, power outages and Russian propaganda

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Expo ’74 had a de facto “complaint department” – the Guest Relations Department – but so far the complaints were few and mostly constructive.

The department was receiving about three or four calls or letters each day, said Jack Geraghty Jr., the department’s vice president (and future Spokane mayor). Most of the complaints were about prices, or about a staffer being discourteous. Some were helpful suggestions about, for instance, a spot where a safety rail or directional sign could be added.

The most complaints were about the power outage that shut down large portions of the fair for hours earlier in the week. Geraghty said they had issued replacement tickets to about 25 or 30 people who were unable to attend events or exhibits that day.

On a related subject, the Chronicle interviewed a number of young adults about their impressions of Expo’s environmental themes. Some said they felt that the carnival rides diluted the environmental message, but that at least the rides brought in a lot of kids and families.

Others said they were disappointed that a lot of the pavilions seemed “directed toward encouraging tourism.” One Canadian visitor felt that the USSR Pavilion was loaded with too much Russian propaganda.

One young man from Massachusetts was disappointed because he came to Spokane hoping to get an Expo job, but the job fell through and he was out of money.

“My feet hurt and I’m really bummed out,” he said.