Reader Response

We’ve launched a new online discussion forum to house more dialogue about issues brought up in the magazine. Go to and click the “Forums” link. Access is free so post and discuss all you want and take our Critical Mass poll. But before you do, read these letters:

Jensen-Byrd: Why bulldoze it?

Dear Editor:

I was somewhat surprised to find a kindred spirit in Out There when I had dismissed it as marketed to a younger, more athletic audience. I have not picked it up until a friend mentioned the Jenson-Byrd article and all that entailed.

I was heartened to find in Juliet Sinisterra a voice for those of us who want to preserve downtown in sustaining the wonderful buildings we have here. I live in Blue Chip Lofts, and can’t believe I could find the character of the old timbers (some with the nails from previous use still there), the old doors, one of which greets you as you walk in, still intact. We have exposed ductwork, the timbers in our loft add to the ambience. Some owners were able to work more old features into their lofts, to great effect. The heights of the ceilings are marvelous, some 14 and some 9 feet. The architects were able to work around the timbers, preserve the character, and still have something I am proud to call home. It is nonsense to say that the timbers and ceiling heights are restrictive.

I believe in diversity, but to tear down buildings such as the Jenson-Byrd building for someone’s idea of a luxury condo goes against everything that I believe. They are “just ” condos one can find anywhere. We are living in history, and as secure and modern as any you can find.

Kay Stoltz

Self-serving plug: One reason that architecture is so nice in the Blue Chip lofts is that it was designed by our own managing editor Juliet Sinisterra and her husband Matt Melcher. Everyone here at the magazine is still scratching their heads at why anyone would want to tear down the Jensen-Byrd building. Hopefully WSU will come to it’s senses and place some value on our city’s heritage.

City biking: it ain’t that bad!

Dear Editor:

Thank you for providing fair and generous coverage of Critical Mass and cycling in general. It is great to see cycling being discussed in more mainstream news sources. Makes me think that cycling is making some headway with the greater population!

I wanted to respond to Dennis Uhl’s recent letter in which he makes two troubling statements on cycling in Spokane. First, Uhl states, “Every time I ride my bike…I almost get hit. This doesn’t occur every once in awhile, but every time.” I really want to know where Dennis is riding. I ride every day also: downtown in afternoon traffic; on errands around the south hill; to parks, local events, and libraries with my 3-year-old daughter in her rear bike seat; and all around town for joy rides. And I have never been almost hit. The drivers I encounter and always respectful of my place on the road. Second, Dennis mentions that he “know[s] the rules of the road from the perspective of a bike and still it is dangerous.” I hope the perspective of the bike doesn’t imply that there are two sets of rules: one for cars and one for bikes! The rules are the same no matter what you’re riding. Biking in Spokane is not dangerous. If it were, I wouldn’t be out there with my little one. As long as you’re following the rules of the road, making eye-contact with drivers, and being courteous and mindful of other riders and drivers, you’ll be just fine. Here’s a great website with the basics on biking in traffic:

Thanks again,
Liza Mattana

Words of wisdom. Nice to hear a second opinion on city cycling.

From the forums: sustainability threats

In terms of sustainable living in the Spokane area, two significant issues are before the city at this very moment: the Bernard Street Trees issue and the Wal-Mart issue. This is a propitious moment for the city and its citizens to take the lead on creating the Spokane we want for our children. There is other forms of capital besides economic that need to be placed on the decision-making scales. One not often talked about is ecological capital of which the Spokane region still is rich even through decades of neglect. But I believe we are at a moment in which we must look toward the future and realize our actions today will impact the seventh generation to follow. Both of these issues set negative precedents regarding development practices and the city has the opportunity to be a leader in this regard if it simply steps up to the place, consult the citizen generated comprehensive plan – and follow the vision. This is what seems to be missing from the Spokane political culture – any sense of vision. It is time to develop one and now.

Posted by Buckwheat


If you would like to respond to these letters or anything you see in Out There Monthly please e-mail us at, or, better yet go to our new discussion forums at Registration is free.

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