Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Year in review, 2017 part 2

01/05/2018

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

This is the second of a two-part look at the news and noteworthy events of 2017. Part 1 appeared last week.


July
Supporters of a proposed new community center in Liberty Lake hoped they wouldn’t be stung again by missing the 60-percent supermajority to get the bond request approved. The issue would go before voters on Aug. 1 primary election ballot.

The first report on quality of life in Spokane County – a holistic look at the health and well-being, comfort and overall lived experience of individuals locally – indicated marked disparities between different groups.

Efforts continued to build a new library across from the under-construction Spokane Valley City Hall. A new plan to extend a 2012 agreement and for both the city and Spokane County Library District to work together to make it happen was underway.
U-Haul International Inc. announced that had purchased the former JC Penney building at University City.

The majority Spokane Valley City Council members weren’t interested in pursuing term limits.

Work on the new City Hall at the former University City at Dartmouth Road and Sprague Avenue continued to chug along. A move-in date for late September was still on track while crews finished up interiors, paving and landscaping.


August
The status quo was the big winner in the Aug. 1 primary election, as two Spokane Valley City Council members – Pam Haley and Rod Higgins – led their challengers. Voters in Liberty Lake, however, held firm on not building a community center.
Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park won a Washington state Supreme Court ruling, which would allow for the planned expansion to move forward.

While temperatures were hovering in the 90s, a new Spokane Valley snow ordinance continued to be discussed by the City Council. After several discussions on the subject of spurring citizens to clear sidewalks, the council voted 6-1 – Council Member Sam Wood voted no – to move the proposed law to a second reading for final approval.

The city of Spokane Valley made final preparations to welcome The Wall That Heals to Mirabeau Meadows at Mirabeau Point Park. The free Vietnam War memorial exhibit would be on display Aug. 24-27.

The Spokane Valley City Council unanimously agreed for the city manager to negotiate a contract with David Evans and Associates in the amount of $172,535 for design services for phase 1 of the Barker Road/Trent Avenue railroad crossing grade-separation project.

Spokane County Fire District 8, which serves the area south of Spokane Valley, received the EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Barring any last-minute developments, a local mainstay – Roller Valley, 9415 E. Fourth Ave.  – would be closing its doors following the death of the skating facility’s owner, Colleen Bernstein.

September
Wildfire smoke hung around the area for days, causing residents to don masks, close windows and wait out the gloom under a pale red sun.

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council proposed to invest $800 million into the local transportation system in the next several years and was looking for input to do so.

The new Spokane Valley City Hall was set to welcome staffers. The council’s meeting on Sept. 26 would be the first in the new building.
The community was left in shock following a shooting at Freeman High School, leaving one student dead and three others injured. Sam Strahan died after confronting his fellow classmate and 15-year-old shooter, who was quickly apprehended after the shots were fired.

A celebration of former Millwood Mayor Jeanne Batson’s life was held at Millwood Park. Batson passed away on Aug. 11.

The Washington Department of Ecology has denied a water quality permit sought by Millennium Bulk Terminals to construct and operate the largest coal export terminal in North America. The news meant that up to 16 additional trains a day would not be passing through the Spokane Valley.

October
Avista Utilities would begin restoration work on an access road that connects the Mica Peak Conservation Area to the trailhead parking area at the east end of Belmont Road.

The new $14.2 million Spokane Valley City Hall was dedicated with the help of Boy Scout Troop 464. The 65,000-square-foot structure opened on time, and city staff moved in Sept. 18.

The city of Spokane Valley was poised to go one more extra mile in making the intersection McDonald Road and Eighth Avenue a bit safer. Since last year, many residents living near the accident-prone intersection had complained that more needed to be done, and city engineers recommended reducing the speed limit on Eighth Avenue to 30 mph.

November
Mayor Rod Higgins managed to keep his Spokane Valley City Council seat, as did Pamela Haley, but three other incumbents – Caleb Collier, Mike Munch and Ed Pace – were defeated by challenger Brandi Peetz, Linda Thompson and Ben Wick, respectively.

Mayor Higgins sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee in support of a petition to rename a section of Washington State Route 27 to “Sam Strahan Memorial Highway” in honor of the victim of the September Freeman High School shooting. The section proposed for renaming stretches from south along SR 27 from the Spokane Valley city limits at 32nd Avenue to milepost 68.9 near East Valley Chapel Road.

The annual disbursement of lodging tax allocation became a bit bumpy this year, as accusations were raised that decisions were made outside of a public meeting.

The city of Spokane Valley looks to have a productive year in 2018, as the City Council approved its $77.4 million budget.

December
Flu activity continued to rise in Spokane County, claiming the life of a 60-year-old male adult.

Nearly 100 turned out for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Spokane Valley Fire Department station in Liberty Lake at 21300 E. Country Vista Drive.

With the promise of no motel rooms and extended vacations on the road, recreational vehicles remain popular. However, there were lots of complaints that they were parking too long in residential areas. City attorneys were looking at a way to address the problem.

Spokane Valley City Council Member Ed Pace had his last meeting and thanked his colleagues and staff. Pace had defeated the last Gary Schimmels – the last remaining member of the original elected council in 2003 – in 2013.

Roger Watkins has joined Spokane Transit (STA) as Chief Operations Officer with responsibility to oversee STA’s fixed route bus and paratransit operations, vehicle and facilities maintenance, and the vanpool commuter ridesharing program. Watkins reports to STA Chief Executive Officer, E. Susan Meyer.



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is the City of Spokane Valley, Washington's official Newspaper. The City Council of the City of Spokane Valley, Washington named the Spokane Valley News Herald as the city's "official" newspaper. The designation means the Spokane Valley News Herald will publish the city's legal notices on a contract basis for one year.

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