Changes May Be Coming to WDFW Waikiki Springs Property

by Landon Eaton Crecelius Changes may be coming to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Waikiki Springs property below the Fairwood neighborhood, often referred to as the “switchbacks.” This 115-plus acre property has long been popular with the north Spokane community for walking, jogging, bicycling, wildlife viewing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and other activity along the old switchback road down to the Little Spokane River. In the last few years WDFW staff have met with neighbors, county officials, and Washington State Parks managers about future management of the property. State Parks has been reviewing properties near Riverside State Park with an eye to increasing land stewardship and public recreational opportunities, including connecting the “switchbacks” property to the park.  This July the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission adopted a long- term boundary for Riverside State Park that includes the Waikiki Springs property. The intent of parks including this property is in recognition of the impacts and opportunities the management of these types of neighboring properties have on current State Parks properties. In some cases, Parks may seek to own or manage these lands in conjunction with their recreational objectives in mind. In other cases, management and or ownership may […]

Holiday Shopping at Amazon Smile

0.5% donated to FLSRV for a no-cost way to support your organization Go to: smile.amazon.com and search for:  Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley  Get your 12 days of Christmas gifts on Amazon, but within smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com, and 0.5% of the purchase price will be donated to FLSRV on all eligible products!  No additional costs to you!

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Please, Won’t You…

by Tina Wynecoop Last month a hundred and more neighbors met at Gleneden’s Covenant United Method Church after work to come up with solutions regarding the ongoing and unrelenting issue of transient/homeless camps popping up in our Little Spokane River area with its many neighborhoods. How did the call-to-meeting attract so many attendees? Thanks to Nextdoor.com it was easy to spread the invitation.  First, let me report that a sheriff deputy, as well as the CEO of Spokane County,and Commissioner Josh Kerns came to this meeting. Although the main concern was not satisfactorily addressed by them and many of us left dissatisfied, the men did get to listen to a lot of impassioned and plaintive requests for solutions – requests from people directly impacted. The attendees could have heard many more than time allowed. (We have had two transient camps next to our easement.) What each neighbor reported left little doubt that the squatters, their camps, and garbage, their bullying, their fires (during fire season), their attacks with weapons, their break-ins…and on and on, are not to be tolerated.  With thanks to Jill who organized the recent meeting, and the Nextdoor.com website/desktop and phone app, the meeting came together without […]

Murder at Greenleaf Farm: The Tragic Downfall of Theodore Cushing and His Ties to Francis H. Cook and Wandermere Golf Course

by Ty Brown Theodore Cushing arrived on the west coast from Chicago and made his home in Portland, Oregon, in the summer of 1883. While a resident of Portland, he invested in real estate in Spokane Falls and made a small for- tune in the rise in values there. Cushing’s brother, William, was already well established in the area and operated a large mercantile store, Cushing and Bryan, in the town of Mead, just north of the city. Theodore moved to Spokane in 1888 and erected a flamboyant building which was known as the Cushing block on the northwest corner of Howard and Sprague. This building was the first commercial building designed by famed architect, Kirtland Cutter. Cushing was the director of the Washington National Bank and the Washington Savings Bank of Spokane Falls located in his new building. During the Panic of 1893, Cushing lost the block to foreclosure and it later become known as the Spokane and Eastern Trust Company. This space is currently occupied by the Bank of America tower, constructed in 1980. Following the financial downturn, Cushing took up residence at a farm owned by his father-in-law, Thomas Hampton, on the Little Spokane River (site of […]

Back to School

by Kirk Neumann This September, approximately 640 kindergarten through 6th grade students returned to a newly transformed Midway Elementary School.  As part of the Mead School District’s construction bond which passed in 2015, Midway has undergone a $16.75 million remodel. The school has been nearly totally upgraded from floor to ceiling with several new classrooms being added. Money saving features have been incorporated into the new design such as LED lights with occupancy sensors which turn the lights off when no one is in the room. The carpet has been replaced with tile in the halls, and the sinks have been moved outside the bathrooms.  These changes are designed to cut maintenance and cleaning costs. The gym has been totally remodeled, complete with a new wood floor and a large door that connects it to the cafeteria. This allows for a larger audience during the school’s very popular Christmas programs.  One of the major challenges during the 15 month project was to perform much of the work while students were still attending classes. This was achieved by rotating classes around and having 8 classrooms in portable buildings behind the school. Now that all the dust and noise are gone, students […]

The Dreamer and the Doctor

by author Jack Nisbet John Leiberg was a prospector and plant lover who came to the Inland Northwest with the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1884. His wife Carrie worked as a family physician and raised a difficult child while they carved out a homestead on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille.  Their saga, loaded with unlikely turns, reflects an American West on the ragged edge between frontier and modern times.  On November 1 Jack will do a reading from his new book at:  Aunties Bookstore downtown Spokane 7:00 pm

How to Be a Hero Along The Middle of The Little Spokane

by Rob Allen, Fairwood Farmers Market Director Heroes are needed to help preserve public access to the Middle of the Little Spokane behind Bozarth Retreat Center near Mill Road and Fairwood Drive. You can be a trails hero by joining a trails maintenance project there Saturday October 20 at 9 a.m.  About 120 acres along the Little Spokane there are currently owned and managed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The department, which basically develops fish hatcheries and wildlife habitat, has expressed a willingness to transfer management to Washington State Parks Department. Parks has agreed, with a proviso. Subject to the surrounding North Spokane neighborhoods participating in active management of the WDFW property, they are adding the WDFW land to their long-term plan for Riverside State Park. Now we must prove our commitment to the area.  WDFW Access Manager Daniel Dziekan will be our guide on Saturday the 20th, laying out the most current work to be accomplished. He’ll be assembling teams at the trailhead, rain or shine, who will (1) transplant new native plants along the trail; (2) spread new bark mulch at designated spots along the trail; (3) help move dead tree parts into place across […]

Spokane County Little Spokane Drive Sewer Extension Project

by Michael Kennedy You may be wondering why the signs on Little Spokane Drive. The road will be closed from October 1 through the month of November for sewer installation and full width repaving.  However, local and emergency access will be maintained.  The purpose of this sewer pipeline is to convey wastewater from the densely-developed Mead-Mt. Spokane area to the County’s existing sewer system in Little Spokane Drive. Though this new segment of sewer will be constructed on Little Spokane Drive, it will not be available for connection to the adjacent properties because these properties are located outside of the Urban Growth Area (UGA). If you are interested in receiving updates on this project, email:  MarshallS@HalmeConstruction.com  to request to be added to the email distribution list.  For construction related questions, you can also call Wendy Iris, Spokane County Construction Manager, 509- 477-7441 Call Kristen Armstrong or Gene Repp at at 509-477-3604 with the Spokane County Environmental Services for sewer related questions.

Walking to School is a Smart Choice

Spokesman-Review article. September 1, 2017 Reprinted by permission. OK, so parents might’ve exaggerated when they told their kids they trudged many miles to school – uphill, both ways – but they probably did walk. And it was good for them. Half of students nationwide walked or biked to school in 1969, as The Spokesman-Review reported on Thursday. That figure dropped to 13 percent by 2009. We don’t imagine that trend has reversed, given the mini-traffic jams around schools each morning and afternoon caused by parental chauffeurs.  Students are eligible for bus rides if they live a mile or more from their school. For those living closer, that’s a manageable walk or bike ride.  Sadly, it might be the only exercise some children get outside of school recess and gym classes. Health experts recommend children get at least an hour of physical activity per day. Walking to and from school provides a nice aerobic workout.  Unfortunately, many kids get a ride home and then plop down with electronic devices or television. Since the 1970s, childhood obesity rates have tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are […]