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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City Council OKs deal with GSI to continue business development, federal lobbying

The Spokane City Council signed a short-term deal Monday with Greater Spokane Inc. for business development services, following a monthlong delay on a contract extension. The contract requires GSI to solicit input from area companies about Spokane’s business climate and seeks to end conflicts of interest in joint federal lobbying efforts.

Spokane City Council drops push for transit vote

Last week’s decision to place a transit expansion measure on the November ballot has caused the Spokane City Council to back down from its own transit-improvement measure.

Fagan questions Spokane’s signing of compassion charter

The Spokane City Council voted to sign the International Charter for Compassionate Communities this week, but not before one council member expressed concern over the charter organization’s efforts to combat “Islamophobia.” The charter, which has been adopted by more than 30 other U.S. cities, urges people “both in public and private life to refrain consistently and emphatically from inflicting pain.”

City to use utilities funds for street projects

The city of Spokane owns about 45 percent of the property within its borders, including parks, plants, lots and government buildings. And more than half of the land it owns – about 11,000 acres – is streets, sidewalks and alleyways.

City Council rejects paying $300,000 for soil cleanup at Grand Hotel

A proposal to use city funds to pay for more than $300,000 in environmental cleanup at the Davenport Grand Hotel was shot down this week by Spokane City Council members, who argued that doing so would be unconstitutional and set a bad precedent for other polluted properties the city has previously owned. Mayor David Condon, who made an informal commitment for the soil remediation to Walt Worthy, the hotel’s developer and owner, said the city could still be responsible for any polluted soil on the land because the city is in the “chain of custody” for the property. He added that the Worthy hotel mitigation was part of his administration’s larger effort to clean up developable lands across the city.

Female council members take on women’s pay, hiring at City Hall

A woman makes $11,614 less than a man, on average, at Spokane City Hall. Females represent nearly half the city’s population, but they hold just a quarter of positions in city government. About 90 percent of clerical and secretarial positions at the city are held by women. These imbalances have drawn the latest promise for change from the Spokane City Council.

City Council creates panel to craft paid sick leave legislation

Requiring employers in Spokane to provide workers paid sick leave took another step forward this week. The Spokane City Council on Monday approved the formation of a committee comprising health, labor and business representatives to help craft a paid-leave law.

Paid sick leave policy leads to local thanks

Next time you get a burger at the Lantern Tap House in Spokane’s Perry District, rest assured it didn’t come with a cough. The restaurant has enacted a paid sick leave policy for its 10 kitchen employees, prompting immediate gratitude from its cooks and dishwashers, as well as an upcoming visit from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Plan funding divides STA board

Battle lines were drawn early by transit officials in a four-hour-long meeting Thursday afternoon, but the eventual 6-3 split sending a 10-year, $300 million project to the ballot wasn’t clear until the vote was called and hands were raised. Voters will decide in April if they want to increase sales tax by 0.3 percent to fund a plan that would extend hours and expand service to new areas, as well as fund a trolley-like fixed route between Browne’s Addition and Spokane Community College.

Spokane proposes lower sewer rates for apartments, multifamily homes

If you flush less, you pay less. That’s the idea behind Spokane’s proposed sewage rates for the next three years. According to the plan, which will be considered by the Spokane City Council on Monday, apartment dwellers and the bottom 20 percent of water users will be given discounts on their monthly sewage bills. Multifamily residences would pay $2 a month less, and low water users would see their monthly bills shaved by up to $5.