Mothering Forum banner

spokane help

542 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  charmander
Hey all.

Our family is moving up to Spokane from New Mexico this summer and I have some questions about Spokane for you folks. Just a quick note about us. My family practices extended breastfeeding and generally we attachment parent. On the other hand, we are trying to raise our kids in the public schools (although we haven't actually got into them yet so we might change our minds!) My questions mostly relate to schools and neighborhoods.

What are the more progressive preschools in town? I have a three-year old boy. I'm looking for a more progressive preschool for him ... something with lots of kinesthetic learning, but with a good deal of structure since my son is a structure-hound.

In terms of neighborhoods, we've been looking in the South Hill area since we've heard these elementary schools are some of the best, but we don't know really. What are the more progressive public elementary schools around? What are the elementary schools associated with the Garland neighborhood? Are any of the neighborhoods more kid-friendly than others? Which neighborhoods are most pedestrian-friendly? Which are most bike-friendly?

Finally, I'm taking a job at Gonzaga University. Any thoughts? I'm fairly committed to taking the job, but would love to get some feedback from progressive and activist-minded women about Gonzaga's relationship with the community.

Thanks everyone. I can't wait to make the move. Spokane sounds like a wonderful place and I'm excited about learning about it. I appreciate all your help!


(with DH Jason, DS JD (3) and DS (Leo))
See less See more
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Hi Patricia! I'd mostly like to say WELCOME! I'm also a transplant to Spokane (from Northern CA), and recently moved away (for dh's job), but moved back here in January. We need more crunchy people here, IMO.
Anyway, as a mom to an 11 month old, I'm still trying to figure things out. Unfortunately, I don't have any input on preschools for you, as we are just not there yet! But, I have lived on the S. Hill and currently live in the Downriver/Audubon area. The S. Hill is very pedestrian friendly, especially in the Manito area. I recommend looking at neighborhoods with lots of big front porches. I found that people hang out on their porches when they have 'em.
This town is becoming more and more bike friendly. We currently live near Riverside State Park and the Centennial Trail (in the Downriver area--BTW, homes are much less $$ compared to S. Hill). If you were to live anywhere near the Cent. Trail, you could bike to work at GU!
Better yet, just move to my 'hood and we can walk our dogs and kids together!
Again, WELCOME!!
See less See more

Thanks so much for the warm welcome! Sounds like you've been doing a lot of moving around. I'm having trouble going through it this one time - too much to pack.

What do you think of your new neighborhood compared with South Hill? Whaddya think about Garland area?

thanks again for the welcome!
Not too sure about the Garland area... It seems to be becoming a sort of art district, which is really good, but isn't as "nice" as my neighborhood or the S. Hill.
I'd say the S. Hill is nicest, but most expensive. Make sure you check it out before deciding for sure where to live (you were probably planning this anyway.) I love my neighborhood because I'm so close to the Riverside State Park and other city parks. Also, much less expensive than S. Hill. I feel my 'hood is safe because I have had a few police officers as neighbors...they say crime is low in our area.
Feel free to e-mail my home address...I think you can do that....still new to message boards. Or p.m. me.
And I feel 'ya on the packing. How is it that we end up with more and more crap every time we move???
We live on the south hill, there are some affordable patches, lol.

The schools overall here are good. We public school, our school is excellent (Jefferson Elementary) with a lot of parental involvement, stay at home moms and stay at home dads... I've nursed dd in the hallway, even in the classroom while helping students, no one's said anything so far...

Rachelle a tron used to live just off Garland, now she lives at Downriver, she might be able to give you some insight on the neighborhood.
Hi Patricia.

I'm in the same boat, trying to find a good school to put DS in. I'm leaning toward the APPLE Program. (Alternative Parent Participation Learning Experience)
I do like the Montessori Program, but APPLE seems more our style. As far as individual schools, I have no idea. I live in the West Central neighborhood, and it's not a very rich neighborhood, so the schools don't recieve great marks. The areas with more affluent households, such as on the south hill, will get better scores.

Hope to meet you soon though!
This thank you is a long time coming! I had to go in for surgery - ugh. Nothing like having to spend time in a hospital to remind me why I prefer natural living. Thanks to everyone - we are now looking mostly in the Jefferson, Hutton, Roosevelt area. We just sold our house here. We feel so rich until we remember - we have to make another down payment hee, hee.

We come out this next weekend to look for a house. Thanks to your responses, I don't even feel overwhelmed (except for the plane ride with a 3 year-old and a 6 month-old).

Sorry for the delay in replying, but thanks again.
Hi Patricia, the houses around Hutton are GORGEOUS. We have T-Ball practice every week at Hutton and I just drive through the neighborhood wide eyed, every single time, and I see the houses all the time,lol. The school is neat looking too, it's Spanish style with a tile roof, backs up to a cool garden/tree area. We are on the South Hill too, but I wish we'd gone further "up" it, we're on the South Hill/Spokane Valley border in a new neighborhood. The older homes are absolutely gorgeous. Pricey, but if you find one that needs work it would be less of course. We love it up here.

We homeschool, but I know there is a private school on the lower South Hill called Discovery School that is supposed to be amazing. And there's the Indigo School (name right ladies?) in Couer d'Alene.

Good luck with the plane ride (doing a long plane trip in July with our boys), and have fun house hunting when you're here! Are you working with a realtor? I'm sure you've been perusing the realty websites, the big ones here are Tomlinson Black, John L. Scott & Windermere. I've driven by plenty of houses recently in the area you're looking that are for sale. There's even one for sale by owner directly across the street from Hutton, it's right across from one of the baseball diamonds at the corner of Arthur & 27th.

Welcome and have fun this weekend! Where are you guys staying? Sorry if too nosey.
See less See more
Welcome to Spokane new Mamas!

I loved living in the Garland Neighborhood but was not excited about the 2 schools that my Son could have gone too. I now live in the Audubon/Downriver neighborhood... about 2 blocks off the golf course & I LOVE IT! I love the school my Son goes too.

I compiled all this spokane info for new Moms in a playgroup I am in:

Why I love Spokane by Rachelle S.

People are always dissing Spokane. I'm not quite sure why.

I love it here, there are mountains, lakes & rivers right outside our doors, the scenery here is breathtaking. The camping is wonderful. Our parks are amazing & we have so many.

It's true that there is a lack of liberal minds here as say compared to Seattle or Portland but hey... were not as big as either of those fair cities.

We have a very active political group here called the peace & justice action league (PJALS.)

We have a community building here that hosts many liberal businesses, PJALS, KYRS Community Radio, a Community Meditation Room, The New Priorities Foundation, Peach Safe Food, Save our Wild Salmon, Global Folk Art which is a fair trade store, a daycare & many others.

I love our downtown, its fun & there are so many historical buildings. We have lots of vintage store, thrift & funky shopping.

Fathers Day was started here in Spokane in the 1940's.

Websites of the City of Spokane

Official Website of the City of Spokane

Tour the Inland Northwest

Visit Spokane

Spokane City Guide

Spokane Tribe of Indians

Arts & Entertainment

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Mobius Children's Museum & Science Center

Spokane Opera House

Spokane Arena

Spokane Convention Center

Spokane Civic Theatre


Spokane Symphony

Spokane Public Library

Outdoor Recreation

Spokane Parks & Rec Department

Riverside State Park

Manito Park

Splashdown Water Park

Spokane County Fair

Spokane Indians Baseball

Spokane's Riverfront Park

Golf in Spokane

Cat Tales Zoological Park

Liberal/Natural/Other Alternative Websites

Spokane Community Building

Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane

Spokane Farmers Market

The Future is Organic/Tolstoy Farms/Spokane Tilth

Huckleberry's Natural Market

4,000 Holes Records & CD's.

Local Media Outlets

The Inlander

The Local Planet

KYRS Thin Air Community Radio

KSFC Spokane Public Radio

KREM 2 News

KXLY 4 News

Spokane 7: Arts & Entertainment

Local Yearly Events

Late January; early February
Spokane International Film Festival - (509) 624-2615

Annual Northwest Bach Festival - (509)-326-4942

Early May
Annual Lilac Bloomsday Run is Spokane's premier 12k run held annually on the first Sunday in May. First run in 1977, it is the largest timed road race in the country. For most residents, it's impossible to imagine spring in Spokane without Bloomsday.
Annual Spokane Lilac Festival has been a "Lilac City" tradition since 1938. It was an effort originated by the Associated Garden Clubs & the Spokane Floral Society to exhibit the beautiful spring lilacs & to showcase area youth. They organized a parade & a royalty program to honor young women from the Spokane area. The festival has added several events & remains a highlight each year.

The Annual Art Fest brings together the region's finest arts & crafts people in a park in Spokane's Browne's Addition neighborhood. Designed to feature high quality original artwork, the festival has steadily grown in attendance, popularity& sales. Art Fest includes continuous musical entertainment, artists' demonstrations, hands-on art activities for children and adults & variety of food concessions.

Pride Festival
Annual Spokane Hoopfest Association is committed to organizing & operating the best outdoor 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the country. With the effort & enthusiasm of thousands of volunteers, Hoopfest strives to create a dynamic downtown festival, transcending basketball through the celebration of athleticism, fair play & community involvement. Spokane Hoopfest Association also provides charitable support through distribution of profits to Special Olympics and basketball-related activities.

Spokane Interstate Fair. Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds. Features an extensive series of interactive exhibits. Among these is a scavenger hunt of entertaining agricultural facts for visiting students.
Valleyfest has been a successful event bringing the Spokane Valley, Washington community together since 1990. Valleyfest provides entertainment for the entire family, an opportunity to meet& have
fun with neighbors, while also recognizing area youth for their talents. Valleyfest's day starts with a Fun Run followed by a Pancake Breakfast. The Valleyfest Parade follows & includes community floats & local school bands. Valleyfest also includes entertainment specifically designed for & performed by children. All of these activities are provided at no cost to Valleyfest participants.

December 31 - January 1
First Night Spokane: The event seeks to foster the public's appreciation of visual & performing arts through an innovative, diverse & high quality New Year's Eve program that provides a shared cultural experience, accessible & affordable to all. First Night Spokane began on December 31, 2001 with people of all ages crowding downtown streets. Since then, attendance at this community oriented, alcohol-free celebration of New Year's Eve has grown to over 23,000. First Night Spokane has quickly become the regional New Year's Eve tradition for many in& around Spokane County.

Visitors to Spokane (pronounced Spo-CAN), have a choice of climates at any season of the year. An extensive system of enclosed skywalks offers year-round comfort throughout the downtown area. For those who enjoy outdoor sports, there is Riverfront Park & Splashdown Water Park in summer & the slopes of Mt. Spokane in winter.

The first European trading post in the Pacific Northwest was established in the Spokane area in 1810. Some of the region's early history is on display at the restored Fort Spokane, northwest of the city, which was built in the 1880s to keep the peace between Native Americans & white settlers. Today, the city is the commercial center of an agricultural region & serves as a gateway to the recreation areas of eastern Washington, northern Idaho & western Montana.

Riverfront Park was the site of the 1974 World's Fair. It is located on two islands divided by the spectacular cascading Spokane River & Spokane Falls. Attractions include an IMAX Theater, an amusement park and a hand-carved 1909 carousel.

Spokane's Grand Boulevard is the place to feed the ducks in Manito Park while taking in a view of stunningly Gothic St. John's Cathedral. The park's many gardens are in bloom from May through October.

Spokane's Gonzaga University, one of 28 Jesuit colleges in the country, is home to the Crosby Library, which displays alumnus & native son Bing Crosby's Oscar, gold & platinum records & other mementos.

Spokane's nickname is the Lilac City. The foremost annual event is the Lilac Festival, which is held each year in mid-May. On the first Sunday in May, the city holds its annual Lilac Bloomsday Run, one of the largest timed races in the world in which more than 50,000 runners participate.

Spokane has a rich history that is portrayed in its museums & heritage homes. Campbell House was constructed in 1898 by a prominent Spokane resident & has been restored to its 19th century
splendor. More vintage homes can be found along Riverside Avenue, in the Browne's Addition Historic District & in the neighborhood known as "the Hill." Next to Campbell House is the excellent Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, with a fine collection of Native American artifacts& other historical items from the region. The collection of the Eastern Washington State Historical Society is housed in a portion of the museum.

Spokane has made it easy for visitors to get a sense of the city by mapping a 32 mile Spokane City Drive that takes in the local highlights. The route is well marked by brown & white arrowhead signs. It meanders through the southern & western portions of Spokane & covers all the major attractions. The drive provides a spectacular view from the hills to the south of the city. Finish the tour at the western end of the route with an expedition to Little Spokane Natural Area, where the paddling is top-notch & hundreds of songbirds provide daily concerts.

In 2004, Spokane was one of only 10 cities across the nation to receive the All-America honor. The prestigious All-America City award encourages & recognizes civic excellence, honoring the communities in which citizens, government, businesses & nonprofit organizations demonstrate successful resolution of critical community issues.

Spokane Gets 'A' on Report Card as "Kid Friendly" Population Connection's 2004 report on how well cities treat our children is out. Spokane is ranked #2 out of 80 large cities in the United States for being "kid friendly".

Spokane Home to Largest WiFi Hot Zone in Nation: It's official! The SpokaneHotZone is the nation's largest municipal wireless fidelity (wi-fi) network deployment. A high-speed broadband wireless network that covers a 100-block area is available for free public Internet access by any computer, portable or handheld device that supports "Wi-Fi."The HotZone was recently named as Runner-up for the 2005 Wireless Excellence Awards in the Wireless Innovation Contest.

The City of Spokane has been named one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year in 2003 by the Intelligent Community Forum, a project of the World Teleport Association. The organization selects communities for this honor that it determines are "pioneers & role models for the development of vibrant Digital Age communities in the 21st Century." The ICF says the Intelligent Communities have what it takes to gain a competitive edge in the global economy.

Other Spokane Kudos

Lewis & Clark High School named by Newsweek as one of top high schools in country.

America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth names the Spokane region one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People more

#16 in Best Walking Cities in the United States - American Podiatric Medical Assoc, 2005

#5 in Safest Cities in the United States - Forbes Magazine, 2005

#63 in America's Brainiest Metropolitan Area Ranking - Biz Journals, 2005

Second in Medical & Emergency Technology among 127 MSAs - Popular Science, 2005

Fifth Most Walkable City among cities with less than 200,000 population - Prevention Magazine, 2005

One of the 50 Best Places to Live - Men's Journal, 2005

#35 in 150 Best Places for Doing Business in America, Inc. Magazine, 2005

#114 Best Places for Business & Careers, Forbes, 2005

"5 Star" Quality of Life distinction, Expansion Management, 2005 Blue Ribbon awards for Spokane School Districts that are among the top 33% of 2800 school districts nationwide, Expansion Management, 2005

Ninth Best City for Lifestyle for Women, Ladies Home Journal, 2005

"Preserve America Community", Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 2005

2004 All-America City Award by the National Civic League

55th Best Performing Cities for economic performance & growth in technology jobs & wages, Milken Institute's 2004

Leads the state in historic rehabilitation: total investment of over $27.3 million in Spokane, while developers in all other cities combined spent $30.3 million (2002, State Historic Preservation Office)

"Tree City USA" (National Arbor Day Foundation, 2004)

Nishinomiya Garden at Manito Park one of North America's top 25 Japanese Gardens (Journal of Japanese Gardening)

Ranked no. 6 in Entrepreneur and D&B's 10th Annual Best Cities for Entrepreneurs - Top Midsize Cities in the West 2003

Ranked 41st Healthy City (Organic Style Magazine)

Ranked no. 2 in the nation for temperate summer weather (Custom Weather, 2001)

Named one of the top 10 family-friendly U.S. cities (Family Fun magazine, 2000)

One of 15 Top Dream Towns where baby boomers can "reinvent" themselves (AARP, 2003)

Ranked #91 Best Place for Business & Careers (Forbes, 2004; up from #100 in 2003 and #162 in 2001)

"Most Wired" hospitals in the U.S. (Hospitals & Health Networks Magazine, 2002)

#16 out of 101 Best Cities for Men (Men's Health Magazine, 2002)

One of America's 50 cities that sizzle (America's Restaurant News, 2000 & 2001)

I didn't get to the mountains/skiing, bike trails, centennial trail, wineries yet... I'll do that soon.
See less See more
I live on the S. Hill close to Wilson Elementary. I have heard that it is one of the best schools. I love this location because I can walk everywhere - which is important when you share a car w/dh! We walk to Manito park, Comstock park (which has a big public pool!) and then down these cool trails off high drive. We can also walk to the grocery store...anyway, we are moving to AZ this summer. Where in NM are you living?

Good luck!

Originally Posted by corwinegall
We live on the south hill, there are some affordable patches, lol.

The schools overall here are good. We public school, our school is excellent (Jefferson Elementary) with a lot of parental involvement, stay at home moms and stay at home dads... I've nursed dd in the hallway, even in the classroom while helping students, no one's said anything so far...

Rachelle a tron used to live just off Garland, now she lives at Downriver, she might be able to give you some insight on the neighborhood.
I don't live in Spokane anymore, but I grew up on the South Hill and attended Jefferson Elementary. Nice place to live, good public schools. If I ever moved back, I would most definitely live on the South Hill again. Both my DH and sister graduated from Gonzaga University.

Good luck in finding a progressive preschool!
See less See more
1 - 11 of 11 Posts