Spokane hotels continue to receive large subsidies

As well documented, the primary purpose of the Spokane PFD and Convention Center facilities is as a taxpayer funded indirect subsidy to the local hotel industry.

As is continued tax payer spending at Spokane airports:

They spent an estimated $246 million during their trips, or an average of $436 per person, according to the study. The money went, in order, to lodging, food and drink, and transportation along with lesser amounts for shopping and recreation.

via Spokane airports have $791 million direct impact yearly, study finds – Spokesman.com – May 25, 2015.

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Who benefits financially from the Spokane Convention Center? (from the PFD’s own documents):


Spokane’s non-existent economic development agencies

Wonderful essay from the SpokanePlanner about Spokane’s delegation of “public economic development activities to private, non-profit organizations is dysfunctional (at best)” and laced with secrecy and good ol’boy backscratching:

For Spokane’s Holy Trinity to succeed, success is defined as how much they panhandle from Spokane’s business and governmental community, and not necessarily defined by truly cause and effect economic development.

Fundraising, grant writing, and generally asking other people for money is not an economic development strategy; to the contrary, it’s what you do when you don’t have an economic development strategy.

SpokanePlanner believes the PFD is one of the most effective economic development agencies in Spokane. However, as shown on this blog, the PFD’s track record based on the objective metric of attendance and usage, is awful:





If that sort of poor performance gets ranked as a top economic development agency, then Spokane is doomed to a dim future.

Incredibly, the State Auditor found the PFD, in a fit of little league corruption, handed out big bonuses to staff in 2004 based on creative accounting. Look at the attendance charts, above, for 2004 – that deserved bonus payments to staff?


Spokane County Employment and Unemployment, in charts

From the Washington State Employment Security Department


The ESD chart suggests employment has almost recovered to pre-Depression 2.0 levels (but see chart from U.S. BLS, below, with a strangely different presentation).


From the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics – this chart (only through March of 2015) indicates a weak jobs recovery versus the one provided by ESD, above:


We have no information on why these charts differ. The chart below shows the “labor force”, which includes those who are working and those who are unemployed and also looking for work:


EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Real Estate Market in graphic format


All images are from Zillow.com. Red=for sale, Blue=foreclosure

North Spokane



South Hill





Spokane Valley section



Zooming in shows a few more homes for sale than the “big pictures” above. On average, there is about one home for sale on every block in this segment from South Hill:




And a zoom in to North Spokane – seems more like an average of 2 homes every block. Those blue dots represent foreclosures:


Spokane Bloomsday Run 2015 – Historical trend through 2015

Data comes from the Bloomsday run sponsor web site and news reports.  There were 42,214 finishers in 2015; the # of registered runners is estimated from the Bloomsday organizer’s Friday statement that there 44,800 registered and an expectation of an additional 1,500 registrants before race start. This estimate is inline with recent years where 91% of those registered, finished.



KHQ TV has a history of vastly over stating the number of participants. Once again, KHQ claims that there were 60,000+ participants:


Past charts on Bloomsday – with more links are here.