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The executive director of Priority Spokane can point to charts and graphs showing the effect community health workers have had on reducing homelessness among local youth. But there’s also a sense of playfulness to the community building Oelrich’s done over the past decade and a half, after a conscious decision to remain in Spokane following his ties to the scandal involving former Mayor Jim West.
Ryan Oelrich’s Spokane Hobbit House at Spokane End provides more than a home office and meeting place. The cozy room offers a creative escape, reading nook and conversation starter.
Animals left behind by last fall’s Chinese Lantern Festival in Riverfront Park find new homes, benefit local organizations.
In the past couple of weeks, a proposal to bring oversized outdoor games downtown has sped from inspiration to likelihood, thanks to Ryan Oelrich.
Ask a child to name his or her favorite part of First Night Spokane and they have a ready answer: “Ronald McDonald,” said Allison Lease, 3, who also enjoyed watching the ballet dancers.
When Ryan Oelrich was awakened on the red-eye home from Alaska by a loud hissing noise, he wondered if the plane was going down. He says he wasn’t scared, exactly. But he wondered if he might have time to quickly hop online and shoot a note of farewell to his friends and family.
You’d think the enormous balloon dragon would have been the biggest attention-getter at Ryan Oelrich’s First Night display. But, to his dismay, he heard a passer-by pipe up when he noticed Oelrich’s name on a placard: “Isn’t that the guy who slept with the mayor?”
Years after West scandal, Ryan Oelrich finds compassion, learns caution. Subject of documentary hopes film clears clouded perception of his role in Mayor West scandal.
The upcoming HBO film “When Strangers Click” will include the story of one young Spokane man whose name figured in the news here in 2005: Ryan Oelrich. Oelrich became entangled in the story that resulted in Mayor Jim West’s eventual recall.