Zombie Buildings: Argonne/Mullan roads, Spokane Valley

Argonne Road and Mullen Road. For sale/For lease/Vacant signs appear every 300 feet down both sides of both roads.

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Spokane County fair attendance

This is in 2004:

But fair attendance has been going down for years. This year, it was less than half what it was in 1989.

via Lagging fair attendance a quandary for county – Spokesman.com – Nov. 10, 2004.

  • 2009 down 6% from 2008. Blamed on a criminally insane killer who escaped when taken to the fair by Eastern State Hospital.
  • 2010. Down 14 percent from 2009, blamed on the weather.
  • 2011. The Fair and the news did not publish an attendance figure for 2011.

This is after about $12 million in improvements were added to the Fairgrounds as part of the Convention Center expansion a few years earlier.

Too bad. The Fair is fun. Much of the decline is likely due to people less interested in traditional, agriculture-themed fair experiences and more alternatives for recreational activities today.

Update January 2013: Here’s a chart found on the EWU web site that includes Fair attendance and confirms the declining attendance.


Spokane Demographics: “Who lives here” According to Zillow.com

This is the rather blunt description of who lives in Spokane, as written by data-backed Zillow.com.

Spokane is a “Ramen Metro” of “Stretched Budgets” and “Wise Old Urbanites”. Ouch.

According to Zillow.com, “The Main Types of People” are:

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Spokane’s Boom Years, in a chart

While looking up some real estate data, I came across an interesting chart. The following chart is from Zillow.com and shows what percent of our housing was built in which 20 year period, for the past 110+ years.

As you can see, the largest growth or boom periods were around 1900-1919 (Spokane’s mining boom years) and 1940-1959 (post WW II, Kaiser Aluminum, and agriculture growth). This chart might be skewed because some of the older homes were likely torn down and replaced (which means things are worse than they appear). Another factor would be population demographics, like the size of various age cohorts, but this should apply equally to most cities in the state.

While the years up through 2007-2008 were viewed as a local housing boom, the historical context suggests this was not much of a boom. Spokane does worse than all of these cities, even Tacoma.


Source: http://www.zillow.com/local-info/WA-Spokane-homes/r_20604/

Compared to other cities around the state, Spokane’s growth pattern suggests a community in decline. Take a look at the following cities. This is an indicator of serious problems in river city – people here should be very concerned about this.

Vancouver, WA

Source: http://www.zillow.com/local-info/WA-Vancouver-homes/r_48215/

Olympia, WA

Everett, WA

Kenniweck, WA

Renton, WA

Tacoma, WA

Zillow did not have data for Yakima or Wenatchee.

Spokane Real Estate Sales Trends

Spokane foreclosures inch upward – Spokesman.com – Oct. 28, 2011.

  • 26% of Spokane homes sales are “distressed” sales (foreclosures and so on)
  • Spokane’s foreclosure rate is much less than the national rate
  • Sales in September were up from a year ago.
  • “That’s a positive sign”.

Source Trulia. Important – the Y-axis is a logarithmic scale. The actual vertical trend is larger than it appears in the chart. You can see that the difference between 1000 and 2000 is smaller than the distance between 500 and 1000, even though one represents 1,000 homes and the other just 500.

Does historical context give you a different perspective?

Greater Spokane Inc acknowledges 60% drop in Spokane Top Tech Companies

The details are here.

Their list of about 50 “Top High Tech Companies” in Spokane has been revised to about 20. And 5 of those are not what we’d call “high tech” if they were in Seattle or Silicon Valley. Another list says there were once 150 companies … cool … we’ve gone from 150 to 15.

Another look at Spokane Employment / Unemployment data

The following charts are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chart 1. This chart shows the same non-farm employment data (through August) as that provided by Washington’s WorkforceExplorer.com web site, but the chart is easier to read – and the data extends back to January 2001, providing a better historical perspective.  Observation – at the peak year, the official unemployment rate was in the range of 5% to 6%. Since then we have lost 10% of all non-farm jobs and the unemployment rate is now 8.6%? This does not really make sense and explains why unemployment feels more like 15% to 16%.

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