EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) Attendance thru 2014

The following charts show the attendance trend through the end of 2014 for Spokane PFD facilities.

The upward growth at the right of the combined “all facilities” attendance is due almost entirely to a sharp upwards trend at the Convention Center in 2014. Combined facilities attendance trend still remains slightly down over the 15 year period since 2000.

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The Convention Center experienced its first significant increase in attendance in a decade. Two events accounted for nearly 30% of all usage during the entire year. (Most of the year, the facility is used sparsely with small meetings of 100 or so people each day.)

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This increase occurred prior to the completion of the third expansion of the Convention Center facilities, which opened in early 2015.  After more than a dozen years of flat to downward usage, and three taxpayer funded expansion projects, the CC has broken through its past “no growth” ceiling.

The above charts have never appeared in any Spokane media outlets – the attendance figures are intended to be top secret, apparently. All data comes from the Spokane PFD.

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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:

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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?