Spokane Is Not Missoula

by Travis Mateer

Spokane is not Missoula, but it has the same chemical demons twisting the body of the man who has been standing beneath the street light outside for hours, in roughly the same spot. I think about filming him from my hotel balcony, but decide not to. What’s the point? You’ve already seen it. It’s nothing new.

On Friday a stubbly faced dude with a crazed look in his eye whipped out a knife while chasing a man he claimed stole his backpack. This happened right in front of me, in the middle of the crosswalk, just across from the Missoula County Courthouse. I had just left my studio a block away, for lunch, but decided calling 911 was a more pressing matter.

The outcome? I don’t think the man was even booked, but I haven’t followed up after NOT seeing his name pop up on the jail roster. Because I’m disgusted. And tired.

In that moment I should have realized Missoula’s 10 year plan to end homelessness was indistinguishable from this man’s murderous intent to stab the alleged thief of his belongings, and I should have ABSTAINED from alerting the authorities. 

Despite several onlookers applauding my intervention, and the police officer who took my statement saying he’s glad I called, I had the sneaking suspicion others in our community would only see value in the numbers these two men represent on some excel sheet attached to a grant for a job the more naive claim to be working themselves out of.

Later that day, I saw the man who was being chased in an empty storefront, all fucked up on something, near the stretch of concrete where kids regularly chalk happy pictures and inclusive phrases. 

“Why was that guy chasing you with a knife?” I asked.

“Oh shit, really? A knife?” He replied, oblivious.

After telling him to cut that shit out, I left him to pass out and maybe die. At least the other guy who has been sleeping there started cleaning up every once and awhile after I gave him a motivational speech.

Did I mention I’m fucking tired?

A day before the knife incident I saw Mr. Logjam walk into MRA, where a doting Ellen Buchanan ushered him into the conference room with a window visible from the sidewalk. 

Did I snap a picture? No. You see, I’m trying to be sensitive, considering Ellen acted kind of weird right before I entered the glass doors to City Council last Monday. So weird, in fact, I put in a public records request to see if the private security firm the city has a contract with might have a certain journalist on a watch list or something.

What else am I to think after Ellen Buchanan sees me entering, heads straight to speak with the private security guy, then scurries to her office, which is adjacent to the hallway leading to Council chambers, and locks the door?

Maybe Ellen Buchanan was just rushing to tell her favorite “reporter” about her big HINT that something BIG is coming next week, so he could turn around and write marketing garbage like this:

“Capital V Partners in April announced their intent to take over the project and, at that time, they said they were wrapping up due diligence. That’s about where the updates ended.

But on Thursday, when asked by a board member, Missoula Redevelopment Agency Director Ellen Buchanan hinted that a long-anticipated update could be coming.

“There is a lot of interest and a lot of movement,” she said. “We’ll know more next week about what’s going on.”

Yes, Missoula picked its back-alley technocrat Mayor JUST IN TIME! 

I assume this project is why Nick Checota was stopping by, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the guy who had to bow out from the last development scheme on this prized parcel doesn’t get a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Whatever monstrosity gets built, I’m sure Nick will get his piece of the action through some privileged back channel, like a piece of the stage, or an enclave to peddle boutique weed from.

Thinking of drugs and the opportunists positioning themselves to monetarily benefit from the recently legalized one, I went back out on the balcony to check on the tweaker. Yep, still there. And this time I DID take a little footage to prove I’m not just making this up for effect.

You see? Making things up for effect is not my style. I’ll leave that to directors of non-profits who can’t unite anyone and should be shown the way to a graceful departure from official duties.

No, Spokane is not Missoula, it’s just the urban armpit of eastern Washington where I was born to a dad who didn’t die like his baby sister and brother did shortly after birth because of an anti-nausea pill later pulled from the market. I learned that from my aunt, along with the babies names: Robin and Gregory.

What are we to do with so many emotionally stunted dads? The woman who interrogated me on the basis of concerning allegations told me, in so many words, GROW UP AND GET OVER IT!

No, Spokane is not Missoula, and Missoula is not Seattle or Kansas City–all places where I was supposedly growing up. And, like anywhere else in this country, all places writhing with chemical demons like an end-times hellscape from Hollywood.

It’s quite late and, as I’ve mentioned, I’m tired. So good night tweaker, and good night youth, good night wolves howling at the moon, and good night shepherds in gleaming white hats, I hope nothing sneaks in during your alcohol naps.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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2 Responses to Spokane Is Not Missoula

  1. webdoodle says:

    As you astutely observed at previous Missoula shitty council meetings; Gwen the Hen digs up dirt on people, then pecks them to death with whisper campaigns, direct browbeating, or ultimately hands it off to Engen (now Hess?) to hit the censor button.

    They don’t want unbiased or alternative media to question their kleptocratic mission to gentrify Missoula at the expense of locals. When the Missoulian bought out the Independent, we lost a significant counter signal to the propaganda machine that is the Engen (now Hess) administration. Although a few folks like yourselves have tried to fill the vaccum, so far no one has done so.

    Because you have failed to subjugate to the Engen admin, it is highly likely you are correct, and they are now putting you on watch-lists, similar to the way the FBI maintains “bag and tag” immediate arrest lists for potential agitators. Or how, thanks to Trump, that the DHS now maintains detailed lists of all bloggers, journalists and political activists so as to throw shade on them, or outright detain them if they start talking bad about the current admin during ‘a time of crisis’ as defined by the same admin.

    FYI – There are significant Intelligence resources within Missoula City and County government. Some within the police/sheriffs dept, but the ones that concern me more are the Talbot type infiltrators that have moved here from previous Intelligence agencies. These folks have unprescedented access to information about the people in our community, and have the tradecraft to weaponize it behind the scenes to destabilize, harass or outright politically destroy opponents to the Engen admin.

    As you also reported, they are using private companies to enforce there regimes mandates, because of the ongoing civil rights issues they continue to abuse: evicting homeless from the banks of the rivers (public land in Montana), illegal anti-assembly mandates, violating federal HIPPA law to create maps of the mental health population that is shared with multiple entities including local law enforcement, etc, etc, etc. I only hope the Rogers International folks and other private contractors they may be hiring in secret, understand they are the BAG GUYS. The city council will cut them the moment they are exposed, and blame any unfortunate incidents on them.

  2. Author Unknown says:

    That tired feeling, relatable. Just wondering atm why the quote woke folk unquote
    Sleep so well they are obliviously unaware of any actual reality?? Guess the meta verse exists in a world without digitalis operandi? People are people, but there does exist the theory that we are not the same. Ponder that philospical thought, my belief is if u know; u know. If you do not, you otta just give a thanks to whatever it is you pray too. For it may very well be a blessing to, but so too is the curse. One Love and Godspeed.

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