Press Releases and News

Find out what's happening in the Spokane region! We have news items that affect your business and our local economy.

Media: If you'd like more information on any of the stories published in this section, please contact Tricia Webster, Marketing and Communications Manager at 509.321.3612.

Statement on WSU-UW Expansion Agreement
October 6, 2014

Greater Spokane Incorporated releases this statement in response to the Memorandum of Understanding on Medical Education Expansion announced by Washington State University and the University of Washington:

GSI fully supports the agreement between WSU and UW for the expansion of medical education and research in the Spokane region.  The expansion of medical education has been a long-time vision for this community and having the alignment and agreement between the universities on their respective paths for expansion is in the best interest of our region and the state.

GSI stands committed to helping WSU achieve its goal of creating a new accredited medical school. GSI also stands ready and committed to helping UW secure the resources and support it needs to expand WWAMI in Spokane.  Being the largest medical hub between Seattle and Minneapolis, Spokane has the infrastructure to be at the center of 21st century medical education.  We are excited about the future and will work tirelessly to support this agreement and to continue to fully support the expansion of medical education in our region.

What we collectively share is agreement on the need to grow medical education beyond the level it is today to meet the state’s growing physician shortage and the need for improved healthcare access in Eastern Washington, particularly primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas.  We also agree on the critical importance of growing research and enhancing bioscience economic development and anticipate that the pursuit of their objectives will also lead to commitments to bring additional investment in research, development and commercialization of medical technologies to our community.

The agreement between WSU and UW for expanded medical education and research supports GSI’s commitment for the full buildout of the Academic Health Science Center vision as outlined in the Tripp Umbach business plan report in 2011 that is projected to achieve a 20-year annual economic impact of $1.6 billion and over 9,000 jobs. This vision includes the expansion of four-year undergraduate medical education, related growth in graduate medical education, growth in academic and biomedical research and development of a bioscience economic development strategy.

Excellence in Agriculture to be Recognized
Everyone involved in our agricultural industry has benefited from individuals and groups who have made extraordinary contributions to the industry. It can be as far reaching as Dr. Norman Borlaug who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in wheat genetics. That research is credited with helping to feed a hungry world and starting the “Green Revolution.” Or it can be local with researchers who made discoveries with the use of Variable Rate Technology (VRT) for fertilizer applications or one of our local producers who has given a great deal of time promoting area production to our importing customers across the ocean.

The AgriBusiness Council of Greater Spokane Incorporated in partnership with Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum, wishes to recognize these individuals and groups with the Excellence in Agriculture Award. The first award was presented at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum event during Agriculture Week in Spokane last February. The award was created to recognize individuals, businesses or organizations that had demonstrated a significant positive influence on the agricultural industry in the Inland Northwest. Of the entries received by the middle of January 2014, two nominees stood out as worthy of receiving the first annual “Excellence in Agriculture” Award. The two winning nominees were the Odessa High School Chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America for their national award-winning project to motivate students to pursue careers in agriculture and The McGregor Company for its continuing efforts on behalf of agriculture and the tens of thousands of farmers in our region.

2015 Nominations for this award are now being accepted. Persons may nominate as many individuals, groups or organizations as they like.  The nomination form can be found at  All nominations must be received no later than Monday, November 17, 2014.

Mail nomination forms to:  Excellence in Agriculture Award, 801 W. Riverside, Ste. 100, Spokane, WA 99201 or email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to be received no later than November 17, 2014.

When considering an individual, business or organization for the Excellence in Agriculture award, the selection committee will consider four criteria:

  • Innovation in Agriculture
  • Economic and Environmental Stewardship Contribution to Agriculture
  • Positive Impact on Agriculture and Industry Awareness and Outreach
Nominations will be narrowed to selected finalists and announced in late January prior to Spokane Ag Expo, February 3-5, 2015.  The winner will be announced and presented their award during show week at a location to be revealed in January.

For more information regarding the “Excellence in Agriculture” Award and the nominating process, contact Spokane Ag Expo Director, Myrna O’Leary at 509-321-3633 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Plaza Committee Update


September 25, 2014

In July, the Downtown Spokane Partnership, Greater Spokane Incorporated and Visit Spokane were
granted an opportunity by the Spokane Transit Authority (STA) Board of Directors to provide input on the
proposed six million dollar remodel project of the downtown STA Plaza.

The three organizations have formed an ad hoc committee and are now engaged in an extensive
information-gathering process:

* With individuals and organizations who have a vested interest in the future of downtown transit services;
* With STA staff, board and project team;
* With organizations representing the homeless, mentally ill, youth, courts, and law enforcement.

These conversations (together with independent research and information requested from STA) will
inform the group in providing a thoughtful and thorough set of recommendations to the STA Board, due
by November 15th.

The committee formed by DSP, GSI and Visit Spokane is grateful for the opportunity to be heard. The
committee, and each organization making up the committee, reaffirms the objective of these efforts,
which includes sharing the purpose adopted and stated by the STA Board of Directors:

[increase ridership with enhanced customer service, foster and enhanced safety and security, improve
functionality and efficiency of the Plaza for transit customers and the Spokane community, reduce
loitering opportunities/increase purposeful behavior, consider overall return on investment and overall
community benefit, and ensure design and uses are complementary to adjacent properties.]

Furthermore, the participating organizations are unanimous in support of STA’s commitment to providing
a strong public transportation system that serves both the downtown core and the greater region.

Given the high profile of the space occupied by the STA Plaza, and its importance to this community, the
committee is also working to formalize a position on how that space might best be utilized with the
understanding that ultimately the next course of action will be decided on by the STA Board.

DSP, GSI and Visit Spokane are extremely grateful for the time afforded to them by the STA Board so the
committee can meet, conduct research, weigh options and prepare the final report. In light of the time
constraints, and to protect the relationship with our STA partners, the members of the committee and
official representatives of the respective organizations look forward to discussing the final
recommendations when the report is complete and will refrain from further comment regarding the plaza
remodel until that time.


Spokane STEM Network Awarded Grant

(SPOKANE, Wash.) - Spokane STEM Network today announced it will receive a multi-year grant totaling $200,000 from Washington STEM to help improve teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and math in the region.

The Spokane STEM Network, a collaborative effort of early learning, K-12, higher education, and business and community organizations, works to transform the way we think, learn, work, and live through STEM by enhancing STEM education opportunities for all youth in the region and by increasing the number of students pursuing and achieving success in STEM careers.

"Washington STEM's investment creates important momentum in the growth of Spokane STEM," said Alisha Benson, Spokane STEM Executive Director. "Their investment compliments regional dollars from Avista, McKinstry, and the higher education institutions of Community Colleges of Spokane, Eastern Washington University, and Washington State University Spokane, as well as a one year grant from the Women's Funding Alliance focused on engaging girls in STEM. There is work underway to increase STEM awareness and understanding, support professional development and instruction for educators, improve post-secondary access and completion, and advocate for necessary investments in STEM. This enhances our ability to align and coordinate work throughout the Network with a focus on shared outcomes."

The grant is part of Washington STEM's nearly $4 million in investments with two main focuses: (1) Continuing the growth of seven regional STEM Networks across the state and (2) Expanding its cutting-edge professional development initiative to help teachers with implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

STEM Networks have been created in six other regions around the state: Mid-Columbia (Tri-Cities), Snohomish, South Central (Yakima), South King County, Southwest Washington, and West Sound (Bremerton). While working with Washington STEM to meet grant guidelines, each network is tailoring their approach to unique regional needs and opportunities.

"These investments will bring STEM professionals, educators, and communities together to improve STEM education and prepare our students for the STEM careers that drive Washington State's economy," said Patrick D'Amelio, Washington STEM CEO. "The networks will improve STEM education coordination in their community and across the state; and rigorous, high-quality teacher professional development will help ensure students in the classroom are STEM literate."

Additionally, Washington STEM announced the expansion of its professional development initiative for STEM teachers, called STEM-PD. Building on a successful pilot project in the Anacortes, Nooksack, Bellevue, Renton, and Highline school districts, Washington STEM is investing $2.5 million to expand the STEM-PD initiative to 45 schools statewide, the majority of which are in STEM Networks.
The professional development initiative uses state-of-the art technology that enables teachers to take charge of their own professional learning. Additionally, six teachers, with a history of excellence in teaching, will be participating and sharing their practice as they explore new ways to use technology in their professional learning. With the technology, teachers can collaborate, share and learn from one another, and request real-time coaching.

The schools participating in the professional development initiative in the Spokane region are: Barker High School, Cheney High School, Cheney Middle School, Lakeside High School, Mead High School, Michael Anderson Elementary School, Mt. Spokane High School, and Westwood Middle School. For a statewide list of schools participating in the initiative go to

About the Spokane STEM Network
Spokane STEM is a regional nonprofit network of leaders from early learning and K-12 education, the business community, higher education and community-based organizations that serves as a catalyst for advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning and innovation. Launched in May of 2012, it is one of seven STEM networks statewide working in collaboration with Washington STEM to revitalize STEM education. The work of Spokane STEM is supported by Greater Spokane Incorporated, in partnership with the NorthEast Washington Education Service District 101, and supports broad educational attainment initiatives designed to prepare our region's youth to enter competitive 21st Century careers. Learn more at

About Greater Spokane Incorporated
Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), the Spokane region's Chamber and Economic Development organization, has been creating something greater for Spokane and the Inland Northwest since 1881. GSI is charged with the mission of growing jobs and business investment through robust programs in economic and workforce development, public policy and small business. GSI is funded through a combination of private and public investment, including 1,200 private-sector member investors; Spokane County; Washington State Department of Commerce; U.S. Economic Development Administration; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Newport, as well as the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information, visit or contact us at 509-624-1393 or 1 800 SPOKANE.

About Washington STEM
Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit advancing excellence, equity, and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Launched in March 2011 with support from the business, education, and philanthropic communities, the goal of Washington STEM is to reimagine and revitalize STEM education across Washington. For more information, go to

Ask Steve a Question

Want to ask our new President & CEO, Steve Stevens a question?  The success of your business is important to us, as well as the health of our economy. GSI is looking for feedback from you! Got a question about how GSI will be supporting your business in the future? Or the role that GSI is playing to push our community forward? As part of our Annual Meeting that will take place on September 3, there will be a Question and Answer session time when you will get the chance to hear answers to your questions.

To send us your question, please email it to Maria Vandervert at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We invite you to join us at our Annual Meeting on September 3 at the Spokane Convention Center.  Register today to attend at

Thank you!

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Find out what's happening in the Spokane region! We've got news items that affect your business and our local economy. For more information please contact Marketing Director Maria Vandervert.