What A 48 Year Old River Front Development Scheme Can Tell Missoula Citizens About Its Future

by Travis Mateer

I strapped on my rollerblades to enjoy the result of the river front development scheme commonly referred to as Expo ’74 on Sunday. It was very enjoyable. Here’s my video summary of how this development came to be:

If you don’t feel like listening/watching my summary, here’s a more official one:

When a group of Spokane business leaders and property owners convened in 1959, they had a lofty goal of revitalizing and renewing downtown. High on the list was renovation of Havermale Island, then the site of rail yards, tracks and warehouses. The group funded a commission that recommended a variety of public bonds, tax increases and federal money, none of which gained much traction, including two bonds defeated by vote. They had to scramble for a new plan.

Enter King Cole and his vision for Expo ‘74.

So, here’s my takeaway: if the business community wants something bad enough, it doesn’t matter if the voters say no, they will find a way to get it.

This week the peasants supposedly get treated to information about what’s in store for the Fox Theater site. Isn’t that exciting?

In similar news, my question about why the Top Hat is no longer a music venue has finally produced an answer (sort of) with the news that live music is “returning” to the Top Hat this fall. Isn’t that exciting?

Yes, there are many exciting things happening, including City Club today discussing school board policy. I got my ticket for the event, which I am very excited about!

Maybe I’ll ask for an apology regarding the policies forced on my children that even a CNN analyst, Leanna Wen, is finally second guessing. Why? Because the idiotic masking policy harmed HER OWN SON! From the link (emphasis mine):

I accept the risk that my kids will probably contract covid-19 this school year, just as they could contract the flu, respiratory syncytial virus and other contagious diseases. As for most Americans, covid in our family will almost certainly be mild; and, like most Americans, we’ve made the decision that following precautions strict enough to prevent the highly contagious BA.5 will be very challenging. Masking has harmed our son’s language development, and limiting both kids’ extracurriculars and social interactions would negatively affect their childhood and hinder my and my husband’s ability to work.

Parents like me, who looked at the cost/benefit and said NO, were condescendingly dismissed and demonized, and now we’re supposed to just forget about what was done to our children? I don’t think so.

Thanks for reading!

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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1 Response to What A 48 Year Old River Front Development Scheme Can Tell Missoula Citizens About Its Future

  1. Spokane is an interesting place. I used to consider it to be like Great Falls — I could never find the main nerve. But a few years ago, I was stuck there while my rig was being repaired, and I walked, walked walked. The architecture of the older buildings is fabulous! And they haven’t ripped them down. The courthouse and surrounding area are cool. A friend at whose whose place I crashed took me to an old neighborhood I’d never seen, with more … fabulous old architecture, beautiful vistas and an old, beautiful, funky park. The bar scene and live local music were vibrant. The seedy scene of East Sprague seems to be dissipating. The numerous street kids and juvenile prostitutes on West Sprague that were openly picked up by sleazebag men and were pimped in a rundown hotel had gone, and a thriving youth rescue drop-in center had invaded Babylon. The massive sprawl, however, especially to the north, continued unabated. The crazy Spokane Falls locks and goofy but fun gondola chair ride are a trip. And while I was there, the grand re-opening of the old jewel, the Davenport Hotel, fully restored by a millionaire and private funds, took place, with a drive-in by 75 beautiful, classic cars (REALLY old ones). Simultaneously, a marathon and a free concert. It wasn’t the Spokane of the 80s-90s. BUT, in the neighborhood a block south of inner East Sprague and stretching West several blocks, shit was going down. Dope dealers and hookers vending in front of the old church. Gunfire.

    BTW, I changed my impression of Great Falls, too. Old downtown buildings restored, instead of being demolished. Nobody threw rocks at me.

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