Saturday, November 22, 2014



Paying to Park: The decisions and costs of River Park Square

For nearly a decade, the debate over River Park Square's troubled parking garage has been a defining element of Spokane's civic life. The garage has spawned an avalanche of lawsuits. It has fallen millions below revenue projections and begun to draw upon government funds intended for poor neighborhoods. And a trial is about to begin in a lawsuit alleging that nearly everyone involved in the deal defrauded investors.

» About the Paying to Park series.
» Catalog of past stories.
» New: Read the full IRS report on River Park Square (1.4 Mb pdf).

Sunday, March 28:

Garage deal leaves city in tight spot

A look at the decisions behind RPS' snarl of trouble.
» At a glance: anatomy of a decision.

Reporting by: Jim Camden


City, Cowles affiliates team up to expand mall

Public-private partnership soon grows sticky.

Reporting by: Jim Camden


The Cowles Connection

Shared ownership of mall, newspaper influenced stories about renovation.
» Graphic explains family, business connections.
» Timeline


RPS series also examines holes in S-R coverage

Column by: Steven A. Smith, editor



Monday, March 29:

City uses lofty projections

Analysis should have shown garage wouldn't work, attorney says.
» At a glance: anatomy of a decision.
» Timeline

Reporting by: Jim Camden


S-R lies low despite high figures

Reporters fail to check up on Walker's parking estimates.

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Tuesday, March 30:

Ultimate garage sale

City, RPS developer dicker and deal before settling on controversial price.
» At a glance: anatomy of a decision.
» Timeline

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Forecasting value

Appraisers hired by the city to estimate the value of the River Park Square garage were required to use a process known as investment value.

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Wednesday, March 31:

City bypasses warning signs

In 1997 deal, council pledges loan if garage revenues fall short
» At a glance: anatomy of a decision.
» Timeline

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Follow-up coverage could have helped

Editor made 'routine' decision in 1997 not to further analyze project after council vote

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Thursday, April 1:

Lower rates put garage in the red

Bondholders were never told that rate cuts could lead to parking garage revenue shortage
» At a glance: anatomy of a decision.
» Timeline

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Developer vowed to fight disclosure of secret offer

Public never told about guarantee on parking revenue

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Friday, April 2:

Combatants head off to court

Dispute over city loans to cover shortfall leads to lawsuits
» At a glance: anatomy of a decision.
» Timeline

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Saturday, April 3:

Powers can't get sides to settle

Agreement ending garage dispute eludes first strong mayor
» The lawsuits

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Early legal battle creates conflicts for S-R

News staff wrestles with how to cover lease developments

From staff reports


Sunday, April 4:

Value versus the cost

Developer says RPS has been a major stimulus for downtown
» Development

Reporting by: Jim Camden


Buyback strategy could put city in control

Bondholders would be out of legal battle and allow city to leverage settlements

Reporting by: Mike Prager