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WONDERGROUND THE INCREDIBLE CONNECTIONS GROWING UP ALL AROUND SPOKANE’S UNIVERSITY DISTRICTWELCOME TO THEWONDERGROUNDEarlier this year,…
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WONDERGROUND THE INCREDIBLE CONNECTIONS GROWING UP ALL AROUND SPOKANE’S UNIVERSITY DISTRICTWELCOME TO THEWONDERGROUNDEarlier this year, Mayor David Condon gathered a group of Spokanites, including Council President Ben Stuckart, to discuss creating a festival to showcase the art, culture, ideas and innovation happening in our city. The group was an interesting mix of non-profit and academic thought leaders, along with representatives of the University District, Downtown Spokane Partnership, Visit Spokane and others. Events like what Mayor Condon envisioned exist in a few places (the Aspen Ideas Festival is probably the most famous) but Spokane’s spin would be unique. Most are centrally curated. Ours will be distributed among the artists, big thinkers and organizers already showcasing amazing work in our area. The idea is to demonstrate not just our biggest ideas, but an intangible part of civic life that Spokane does better than most: work together. After discussion, the organizing committee decided to name the event Wonderground, because it feels like that’s what we’re building in Spokane, an infrastructure of cooperation and community that isn’t always easy to see, but whose impact is felt.410CRITICAL MASS McKinstry Innovation Center Toolbox Catalyst Building Eastern Washington University Avista Development KaterraBRIDGING THE GAPS University District Gateway Bridge Studio Cascade, part of SCJ Alliance South Landing Lofts Fresh Soul UGM Student Impact Center Carl Maxey Center The Black Lens WSU Health Sciences Spokane University of Washington / Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership Whitworth University Hospital District East Sprague Business District2 As it came time to imagine the University District’s magazine for this year, we began to see evidence of this everywhere. New partnerships begin daily. Connections we knew were happening took on a more profound resonance viewed through this lens. So we started fleshing out some of the most compelling examples of places we see deep, intertwined connections and how the fruits of that communal work sprout up in surprising, delightful and increasingly powerful ways. What follows are six stories of our region—a representative but far from exhaustive sample— demonstrating the rich, interconnected ways we are making Spokane stronger by building together. To everyone who shares this vision, welcome to the Wonderground. 16BUILDING A WONDERGROUND Richmond Art Collective Jensen Byrd Building Saranac Art Projects Terrain Spokane Arts Museum of Arts and Culture Spokane Symphony Community Colleges of Spokane Pop Up Shop (in The Steam Plant)DIV ISIONM ON R OEINDIANABOONEP ERRYSP R AG UE22DEFYING CONVENTION Riverfront Park Spokane Convention Center INB Performing Arts Center Spokane Arena Kendall Yards West Main2432BUILDING BLOCKS The M The Ridpath The Community Building Saranac Commons Merlyn’s Centennial Real Estate InvestmentsGOING WITH THE GRAIN LINC Foods The Grain Shed Palouse Heritage Lazy R Ranch Gonzaga University Spokane Public Schools Empire Health Foundation Perry DistrictCover Image: Main Street’s popular Saranac CommonsWONDERGROUND  SPOKANEUDISTRICT.ORG  3Top Left: Recent Whitworth grad Lexi Chan at UGM’s Student Impact Center Right: Rendering of the Gateway Bridge and future Catalyst Building (courtesy of McKinistry)MO NR O EBRIDGING THE GAPS T H E G AT E WAY B R I D G E I S J U S T O N E V I S I B L E SYMBOL OF A CITY BUILDING NEW CONNECTIONS SPR AGU ET P ER RYBOONEDI V I S I O NINDIANA4 he University District Gateway Bridge, at the east end of downtown Spokane, has already made its mark on the city’s skyline. That striking visual is just a teaser for the impact the bridge is set to make on the communities it connects. The pedestrian overpass links the University District’s academic core—a medical education hub boasting Washington State University and University of Washington / Gonzaga University medical schools—to a historic business district on the path to revitalization as well as the Hospital District and several East Central neighborhoods. Promoting the health of people, communities and business is as much a part of the bridge as is its 120-foot iconic arch. Just east of the bridge site, the East Sprague business district was, in recent years, the focus of a City of Spokane “Targeted Investment Pilot” including street renovation and an affordablehousing development among other revitalization efforts. Now, street trees line the freshly-paved corridor. Forty-year-old businesses and new restaurants stand side-by-side along streets that now feel safe and walkable. As the City of Spokane, private investors and local stakeholders contribute to this fresh take on a once-struggling business district, a delicate bal­ance is being navigated: Welcoming a brighter future that includes those who have been there all along. “We’re hoping that this transformation is an exercise in local empowerment, where the people who’ve invested here and made their livelihoods here can be part of it,” says Bill Grimes, principalare making plans to develop the South Landing Lofts that will include a 1,500-foot retail space with nine apartments above. “I envision the future of our neighborhood as pedestrian-, cycle- and business-friendly with just the right edge of industrial grit to pay tribute to its hard-working roots,” DePaolo says. “With the Catalyst project and the EWU presence, I hope the neighborhood will be energetic, youthful, and filled with people who want to learn, contribute, play, commute and live there.” The multi-million dollar Catalyst Building (see our story on page 10), slated for completion in 2020, will move 1,000 students and three degreePlacing industry and academia alongside one another in one building at Studio Cascade (part of SCJ Alliance), a community planning and design firm.Gis key to that vision.rimes and clinical social worker Lucy DePaolo, who are married, believed in the vision for the area’s future long before it began to take shape—they bought three parcels of land near the south landing of the bridge in 2012, five years before the bridge broke ground. Avista Development (a non-regulated subsidiary of the utility company) has sought input from local business and property owners like Grimes and DePaolo to help create and cast a vision for the District’s future. Grimes and DePaolo— L AT I S H A H I L Lprograms from Eastern Washington University’s Cheney campus to the Gateway Bridge’s south landing—along with a few carefully selected, cutting-edge business tenants. From the beginning, the Catalyst project has been centered around innovation in bio-science, medical technology and data science. Placing industry and academia together in one building is key to that vision, says Latisha Hill, Avista’s Senior Vice President of Development.WONDERGROUND  SPOKANEUDISTRICT.ORG  5“That’s where innovation can really take place differently than it has in the past,” she says. “We want to put folks there who really want to make a change in the world. When you start a project that way, the conversations are a lot different.” The Gateway Bridge’s south landing location at the Sprague and Sherman intersection signifies a long-term vision: rekindling a connection between East Sprague and the rest of its East Central neighborhood, which the I-90 freeway bisected when it was built in the 1960s. “It really is a vein that connects the north side with the south,” Hill says. While that connection isn’t It takes having a place, an infrastrucstrong yet, Hill expects increased traffic to the area will draw new ture, to be able to address some of the business investments. Sandy Williams, East Central issues that are taking place right now resident and editor of Spokane’s only African American-owned in terms of disparities. newspaper, The Black Lens, isn’t waiting for developers to invest in —SANDY WILLIAM S her community, though. Inspired by the late Spokane civil rightsThe University District Gateway Bridge, under construction. Top Left: Sandy Williams of The Black Lens Bottom Right: Najahna, 14, studies with a group of teenagers and mentors at the Student Impact Center6 lawyer Carl Maxey, she and a group of co-organizers are making their own plans. “It takes having a place, an infrastructure, to be able to address some of the issues that are taking place right now in terms of disparities,” Williams says. This June, Williams announced plans for the Carl Maxey Center, a future hub for Spokane’s African-American community.Asmattering of other home-grown businesses have popped up along the Sprague and Fifth Avenue corridors in recent years, including the just-opened Fresh Soul, a soul food restaurant that’s both an employer and mentorship program for the teens who work there. Williams says the area has finally mustered a critical mass of home-grown businesses, infusing the corridor with new energy. Ryan Brown from the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) sees the University District’s student populace as a perfect fit for the Gateway Bridge’s vision of connecting districts for mutual benefit. As he sees it, students can apply their learning in the community, thereby improving people’s lives.For even more pedestrian connectivity in East Spokane, try the Ben Burr Trail, which connects Underhill and Liberty Parks in East Central with Martin Luther King Jr Way.Brown founded UGM’s Student Impact Center, a faith-based youth hang-out and resource center staffed by resident interns from local universities, including Whitworth University. Set in a renovated historic hotel on East Sprague, the Impact Center provides much-needed work experience for students and a supportive atmosphere for local at-risk youth. Anyone aged 13–19 is welcome—and Brown says so far, the center is used by neighborhood kids and homeless youth alike, with little judgement between them. While they’re there, youth can access homework help, computers, space to lounge and even washing machines. In the evening, everyone sits down for a big family dinner. “We specifically only bought one big giant table because we want kids to have that family experience, sitting around the table,” Brown says. “That’s kind of our motto there: We’re not a facility, we’re a family.” WONDERGROUND  SPOKANEUDISTRICT.ORG  7If we want to move fast, setting up these clusters that have a tightened focus—that is how we can really leverage the asset of Dr. Todd Beyreuther (second from left) and colleagues at the McKinstry Innovation Center8 Spokane’s University District. — DEAN ALLENM ON R O ECRITICAL MASS DEEPER CONNECTIONS FUELING A M O R E I N N OVAT I V E S P O K A N EDesigner and artist Travis Masingale sits with a cold brew coffee, working from a tablet at Lindaman’s Bistro. We’re perched on Spokane’s lower South Hill, near the Hospital District, just south of where ground is breaking on a project that will change his professional life—and the lives of many others. As an Associate Professor in Eastern Washington University’s popular Visual Communication Design (VCD) program, Masingale will relocate from Cheney to the Catalyst Building at the south landing of the Gateway Bridge in 2020. Masingale believes the projects will impact our whole region. “For our students and faculty, it radically changes the experience and opportunities,” he says. “To be so close to other academic and industry experts, for shared learning, internships, guest speakers, collaboration on projects… it’s a real plus for our program.” He adds, “Being downtown, our students will be able to engage with business, arts, and culture in ways we haven’t before.” Since graduating from the EWU design program, Masingale has spent a couple decades participating in Spokane’s visual arts scene, helping emerging artists and designers get their start professionally and creatively while helping instill the importance of giving back to their community. The way he sees it, the new setting will enhance all of it. And not just the proximity to downtown. The Catalyst Building itself will be a marvel of design and innovation. A 159,000-square-foot joint project of Avista Development and the building systems experts at McKinstry through South Landing Investors, LLC, the structure will use a new generation of sustainable materials and smart systems, instantly carving out a new classof buildings in Spokane and the nation. Built not just for hyper-efficiency and smart energy generaS P R AG U E tion but with a concern for the environment that begins at the level of raw materials, the Catalyst will feature structural Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), an innovative wood technology which puts to use small-bore timber harvested from sustainably managed forests. Small-bore timber—think of the thickets of scrub pine that fill the West and burn so easily in seasonal wildfires—can’t be used in other applications, so CLT as a process can help forest health and limit carbon emissions caused by fire or decay. The Catalyst Building won’t just be energy neutral, it will actually create more energy than it uses, sharing the surplus with nearby buildings. P E R RYBOONED IV ISIO NINDIANAEqually innovative are the plans for when the doors open in 2020. In addition to the VCD program, the Catalyst Building is envisioned as an incubator that will intentionally mix EWU’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments with several private industry tenants in the design, data, energy and construction sectors. To start, these will include Avista, McKinstry, and Katerra, a California-based leader in CLT technology whose owners have Spokane roots. (Katerra has also chosen nearby Spokane Valley for its first major CLT production facility, a 250,000-squarefoot factory currently under construction.) For McKinstry CEO Dean Allen, a member of South Landing, LLC, the Catalyst Building is the anchor facility in a series of what he calls “industry clusters”—the second of which will be announced soon. For Allen, clustering is key. “We are purposeful about how we invest in our communities and howWONDERGROUND  SPOKANEUDISTRICT.ORG  9we hope academia and industry will collide,” he says. “There are a lot of incubators around the world, but we’ve learned that the question is: Do you have a critical mass of thinkers, innovators, and talent that centers around a specific cluster of industry? That’s where we see momentum. And, if we want to move fast, setting up these clusters that have a tightened focus—that is how we can really leverage the asset of Spokane’s University District.” McKinstry has a long history of supporting STEM education and invests deeply in the idea of incubation, having created its own Innovation Centers in both Seattle and Spokane over the past decade. Allen says that, in the process, they have learned a lot about cross-disciplinary collaboration. Catalyst will be the next step in the evolution of that thinking. Allen casts a vision of the power of intentionally shared spaces, which he has witnessed at the company’s Innovation Centers. A group of academic researchers share a daily coffee with industry leaders who are creating new products and services—and jobs—in a related business sector. Across the atrium, talented and motivated students10 grab lunch with leaders in their field, picking more experienced brains as they plan for their careers. Grants get co-authored. Products are developed. Walls come down. Better ideas come to life. For the Catalyst Building, the product of these sorts of close collaborations will be built into the walls, quite literally. Allen shares a story from McKinstry’s Spokane Innovation Center, the historic street car maintenance building the company redeveloped in the University District and opened in 2012. Five years ago, a Washington State University architecture and structural engineering researcher and professor, Dr. Todd Beyreuther, partnered with McKinstry and they co-founded the Energy + Ecology Innovation (E2i) Lab. One of Beyreuther’s key research areas was focusing on new research and development in wood building products. McKinstry’s expertise is as a design-build HVAC company that works primarily in metals, so Allen remembers thinking, “Sounds like a pretty wacky idea, but let’s see what comes of it.” Fast-forward through some great industry connections for Beyreuther, along with a thousandconcepts and ideas and iterations and conversations and “what comes of it” is the CLT wood product that Dr. Beyreuther’s current employer, Katerra, will be using to build the very bones of the Catalyst Building. “That’s my favorite recent Innovation Center story,” Allen says, laughing. He doesn’t think CLT is so wacky anymore. Neither does the Avista Development team that’s partnering closely on not only the Catalyst Building, but also on a broader Catalyst project which seeks to accelerate productive collaboration in the University District. Nor does it seem quite so crazy to invest in the future of Downtown Spokane and the University District as they grow together—a city core and a hub that are clearly on the rise.In June, along with Avista CEO Scott Morris and Cowles Company Chairman Betsy Cowles, Allen led a tour of Spokane for the Washington Roundtable, a group of 50 executives from the state’s top companies. The mission—Allen calls it “giving the pitch”—is to show not only why McKinstry set up a headquarters in Spokaneseveral years ago, but also why they are now helping lead another investment of over $100 million in the south landing area alone. Perhaps what makes Catalyst most unique, though, is the way big-picture ambitions like Dean Allen’s are built on a scaffold of human-centered design solutions for those like Travis Massingale and his students, who will live and work and study in the University District and surrounding neighborhoods, sparking new and more frequent interactions between students and cross-disciplinary thinkers. Allen believes this could become a model of living and working that will spill out of the Catalyst project and become part of the larger culture here, impacting not just the students and entrepreneurs of the University District, but the entire region. “The lifestyle, the cost, the culture of Spokane—and this new juxtaposition of academia and industry downtown—make it a great place for a Washington company like ours to put down roots and be a strong part of the community,” Allen says. Left: Catalyst groundbreaking attendee writes his hopes for the neighborhood in a crossword Right: Leaders break ground on the Catalyst projectWONDERGROUND  SPOKANEUDISTRICT.ORG  11BUILDING A WON F O R T E R R A I N , CA R V I N G O U T S PAC E F O R A R T I S T S T O T H R I V E S TA R T S BY LISTENING TO THEIR NEEDS, THEN DREAMING UP BIG SOLUTIONS S P R AG U ER PE R RYDIVISIO NINDIANAeinaldo Gil Zambrano stands alone in his studio at Richmond Art Collective, bright sun hitting him through the south-facing windows that look over Sprague Avenue toward the train station, trying to figure out where to begin. A celebrated young printmaker from Venezuela and adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University, he is beginning a series that explores paranoia and fear. He’s wrestling with the expressions he’ll use to help the viewer engage with these emotions from different perspectives. Saranac Art Projects will show the work all September. But first, Reinaldo has to make it. After finishing his MFA at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Reinaldo moved to Spokane to teach. “Since coming here, I’vebeen impressed by the community, the support,” he says. “When I am surrounded by others making art and sharing it, it inspires me to do my work, even when I don’t feel like it.” That idea—that art is made by people, but catalyzed by community—has been at the heart of a decade-long experiment seeking to fundamentally change the way people think about Spokane, and how Spokane thinks about its artistic community. In 2008, while Reinaldo was still growing up in Venezuela, a grou
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