Nathan Rusch

The unique character of Peaceful Valley

Nathan Rusch, Planning & Development Services, No Phone Number Available

Friday, October 3, 2014 at 11:50 a.m.

Peaceful Valley has a way about it that no other neighborhood in Spokane can replicate. Similar, yet distinctly different than say, Cripple Creek, Colorado it has an old mining town feel to it. It's rustic but not decrepit. It's not easy to describe its character, its moxy, what “it” is that it's got. It would take someone more intimate with the neighborhood to really capture in words that undefinable feel that outsiders experience wandering along Water Street down to the riverbank.

Meet Barbara Morrissey. A long-timer in the Peaceful Valley neighborhood, she bought a house in 1983 after searching for a place that wasn't a “'hoity-toity' keep up with the Joneses” sort of neighborhood. She describes her neighborhood in a plain, yet eloquent, matter-of-fact manner:

“Came home one day to find an elderly lady with a cane picking up the windfall plums in the yard. Thus, I met Granny Quinn. Her picture used to be on one of the John Thamm murals on the bridge. Bought the house six months later. Loved the low key, unpretentious atmosphere...classical pianist next to a Clint Black fan.”

Ms. Morrissey describes the neighborhood as an eclectic group of artists and poets with a range of day jobs from professors and pharmacists to telecom and woodworking. The hip, exciting atmosphere was left to Browne's Addition. Peaceful Valley was more conservative, more serene. Those that live here take pride in their gardens and the unusual art carved into tree stumps. Despite a reputation for political activism, since 1983 there has been only one “rally” to persuade a drug dealer to change her trade. The residents are self-described as resilient and secluded.

“Put a bridge over us and hoped we'd leave…We stayed in spite of the movers and shakers, we are still here,” Morrissey writes. “Maybe that is pride. Not the boastful sort.”

Places have character. Parts of it come from the bricks, old growth trees and those things we see; parts of it come from the nature of people that live there: their businesses and their history. From Hillyard to the Manito/Cannon Hill neighborhood just a short distance away or the Downtown Riverside area, each neighborhood just has its own special feel.

What is that indescribable quality of your neighborhood that an outsider just can't place? If you have the words, visit the Shaping Spokane website and share them. Point out places that make your neighborhood your own and leave your comments about what sets your neighborhood apart. Browne's Addition poets and Logan bloggers, I challenge you all to capture the character of your community and share it.

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