Today in Spokane 2: Felony Flats

February 2, 2017

We’re house-sitting in a “new urban” style development on the north bank of the Spokane River. The recreational use Centennial Trail runs by the south side of our house 30 miles west to Lake Coeur d’Alene. A half-mile east is a little pocket of restaurants, an ice cream and coffee shop, a couple bars, a spa… all of them upscale but not snooty. And then… two blocks to the north, we have “Felony Flats.” Seriously. Gentrification hasn’t reached there yet (you see the new part in the pic with the motorcycle handle bars), so it remains stuck in the double crunch of poverty and crime. One commentator said the crime brought the poverty, not the other way around. Another said, don’t get too freaked out, it’s “poverty crime” — break-ins and petty theft, not personal violence, gangs, or big time drug traffic, but you’d probably want to check the sex offender register before moving in. Yet another said we need young people to move in and take the area over, make it fun to live there. I walk through Felony Flats on my way to the bus stop — maybe that explains the bus-riding population. I pass a For Sale sign in front of major fixer-upper. I called a realtor about it. I wouldn’t, he said, too iffy down there, we have other affordable neighborhoods. Seems so strange to have this “wrong side of the tracks” pocket in a city like Spokane. Just two blocks away. Might as well be a thousand miles.