Spokane, WA. It is where I live now, with my mate. In 2010, exasperated by the high cost of living in the Seattle metro area, we decided to move to Washington State’s 2nd largest city, 6 hours away. Spokane. My mate’s aunt lives here, and we had come for a visit in June of 2010 for her aunt’s birthday, and did some exploring. We liked it enough that we decided to move here.
After living here for almost 4 years, I can say that it has been very interesting. There are some odd things about this city that stump me and I can’t figure out. Mostly, the people. There are a lot of homeless people, and there is a mission close by with empty beds. This mission, as long as you are alcohol and drug-free, will help you get back on your feet. But instead, across the street from our apartment, they set up camp in the trees and bushes, drinking and drugging. The cops don’t care. There are not many cops in the area to begin with, and they have other things to deal with, such as daily shootings in various neighborhoods across the city.
A lady was murdered about 100 yard from my apartment in 2012. It turns out the murderer was in the apartments across the street from us the whole time, and the cops had said they “canvassed the area” and this guy fit the description of the murderer exactly. Before the woman died, she told a construction worker the details of his appearance. It was only 3 months later that he was caught, as he tried to beat a lady over the head with a mallot on the Centennial trail (again not too far from our apartments) and a landscaper caught him and held him until the police came.
Then there is the smoking. In Seattle I rarely saw people smoking cigarettes. Not many people did. And if they did, they hid it pretty well, and everyone always talked about wanting to quit, and often would, if they smoked to begin with. But Spokane.. has got to have the largest population of cigarette smokers I’ve ever seen. I wonder if its because the poverty of the city resulted in a lack of proper education, but I can’t be sure. It seems like everyone I meet, everyone I work with, smokes. It is a crazy amount, and it is disgusting.
Besides the smoking problem there is also a pedestrian problem. This leads to a major hit and run problem. People in this city like to, instead of using crosswalks, cross at random places, often when cars are indeed coming their way, and they often dart out in front of cars, as though kamikaze. This results in at least one hit-and-run per day. In fact, a week or so ago about 800 yards from my apartment, some homeless man at 4:AM was crossing the bridge to get down to the river (no crosswalk there, at all) and a car hit him. Then another car hit him. Then another car hit him. Then another car hit him. And then, finally, another car hit him. After being hit by 5 different cars, the man of course died, and no one has found any of the perpetrators. They all drove away as fast as they could.
Neighbors. It seems like there is a very high turnover in our apartment complex. We’ve been here the whole time we’ve lived in this city, and I’ve seen maybe 10 different tenants in the apartment unit next door, and perhaps as many in the other units in my building. Every single family or person that has moved in, has been extremely loud at terrible hours, or obnoxious. 2 bed room apartments with a mom, dad, and 4 kids… trashy people who look methed out… its just really sketchy and we keep wondering why our landlord allows these people to rent here. We’ve had to make several emails and calls to her in the middle of the night to report some serious noise disturbances like wild parties, loud music, domestic violence, and screaming children. Our bedroom is unfortunately next to the stairs, and the stairs themselves are not quiet ones (I am a quiet walker and I still make noise on them, unintentionally). So when other people who are NOT conscientious lumber down the stairs (and by that I mean run and yell loudly while doing it), it wakes us up if we’re asleep, or annoys us if we are at home during the day relaxing. We’ve all but given up.
There is also a major tailgating problem in this city. In Seattle it was necessary to tailgate otherwise you would be smashed by another car, as traffic was so tight there, and there were jams everywhere. Here, there is comparitively not as much traffic at all, and yet people will ride up your tailpipe without a second thought. There is so much room here to drive, not like Seattle – the streets are wide, there’s not a huge population (the city itself is 210,500 and the metro area is about 500,000) so its not like traffic is squished in. But people here will ride your asshole like they’re in a hurry. And this is especially odd: whenever I put my blinker on to make a RIGHT hand turn, from the right hand lane, the person behind me, no matter how far back or close they are, always switches into the left lane, as though they couldn’t possibly wait the 2 seconds it takes me to turn right. The reason eludes me.
Spokane is definitely weird, and its by no means ‘home’. Its a stop over until our real life can begin. I d know Spokane has some redeeming qualities, such as the Riverfront Park and the Riverside State Park. There is Green Bluff nearby where a coalition of agricultre growers banded together to form an area where you can go to different numbered farms and ranches and pick your own fruit and veggies, or buy pre-picked, or have wine tastings, etc.. and there is also a really great bookstore nearby, downtown. The centennial trail, minus the sketchy people sometimes on it, is pretty cool to walk to downtown from home. Its only a 3 mile walk.
But Spokane is.. unique, and I will never really get used to its idiosyncrasies.