Pin It
Favorite

Salvatori Salvaging 

Why is Steve Salvatori so happy about all these crappy buildings?

click to enlarge TAMMY MARSHALL
  • Tammy Marshall

Steve Salvatori is the man with the polka-dot bow tie, unibrow and missing tooth. He’s also the man whose “beer gut” was pointed out — with an arrow and the words “beer gut” — by some helpful passers-by.

That’s what he gets for plastering his image on every empty building in downtown Spokane.

Salvatori is running his first campaign for elected office.

He’s a Republican and wants what Bonnie Mager has right now: a seat on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners. What he doesn’t have, but also wants, is a recognizable name.

“I started this race as an underdog, still am an underdog, with low recognition,” he says. Almost to prove his point, he mentions that his two Republican opponents, Jeff Holy and Al French, won separate endorsements from the Spokane County Republican Party and the Republicans of Spokane County, respectively. (Mager, the incumbent, is a Democrat.) “I knew I had to do something,” he says.

That something was put his visage and name up in every building he could muster — whether it had tenants or not. He’s on the abandoned Ridpath and empty Otis Hotel, on the Hutton Building and on a tiny old coffee stand on Sunset Highway in Browne’s Addition.

He’s everywhere. But is it such a good idea to put your name and smiling face on all these abandoned buildings?

“That’s sort of what the [campaign advisers] said,” Salvatori says. “I wanted to call attention to economic development, to the very buildings and pieces of land that will still be there when we get out of this economic mess. … What better way to do that than highlight these empty buildings?” This strategy has left more than his advisers wondering why this guy — sometimes in life-size, full-figured photos — is so happy about all these forgotten buildings.

“I definitely noticed that,” says Dennis Magner, who heads up Magner Sanborn, a local advertising and brand design firm that has worked with Thomas Hammer, Netflix, Gonzaga University and Amtrak, among other institutions.

“I think there are some associations that one might instantly make [when seeing posters on tenant-less buildings] — ‘OK, he’s going the cheap route,’” Magner says.

Magner — who made sure to say he was speaking only generally — says the posters themselves project “a casualness … being more tune with the common issues, being approachable” that could be effective in luring voters.

On the other hand, Magner says, if you see the candidate’s poster on the side of dilapidated building, it’s not a big deal. “But if that’s mainly where you’re seeing that imagery, whether people consciously make that connection or not, they’re probably going to take [the buildings’] economic situation… and attach it to his brand,” he says. “I would have recommended it just be a mix, maybe a minority exposure. … I don’t think he’s achieved that.”

Whatever negativity comes with the strategy, says Salvatori, it’s worth all the exposure he’s received. He keeps no stats, but, anecdotally, he reports dozens of voters calling him asking what he’s all about. Other people he knows collect pictures of themselves with his posters, something like a scavenger hunt. Some people know him as the “Full Body Guy.”

“It has added some humor. And I think anything in life goes along a little better with humor,” he says. Besides, he’s learned something about Spokane. “You don’t truly know how many empty buildings there are until you, in my case, start putting your picture on them.”

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Ugly Breakup
  • Ugly Breakup

    The long-running rift between the mayor and the city council president just got worse
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • Beggs for a Solution
  • Beggs for a Solution

    In the three months Breean Beggs has been on the council, he's pitched out-of-the-box ideas for some of the city's stickiest problems
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • More »

Latest in News

  • Bridging the Gap
  • Bridging the Gap

    Bridge Avenue stands as the dividing line between the swanky Kendall Yards and impoverished West Central. Is that about to change?
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Rematch
  • Rematch

    Once again, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Joe Pakootas face off for her seat in Congress. Here are some ways they differ
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)

    Craig Meidl again gets the nod from Mayor Condon; plus, a WSU football player in Domino's brawl won't be charged
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Spokane-Cagli Sister City Ceremony

Spokane-Cagli Sister City Ceremony @ Doubletree Hotel

Sat., Oct. 1

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Nicholas Deshais

  • Rehab Reality
  • Rehab Reality

    Toys are stacked on the front porch of the Isabella House, but the kids are nowhere to be seen. Inside the front door and behind a red, velvety curtain in the imposing 113-year-old house on the edge of Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition, their playroom is also abandoned.
    • Jun 3, 2013
  • Studying Spokane
  • Studying Spokane

    One third-year med student relishes his time at UW East
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • Ever Ready
  • Ever Ready

    What happens after you dial 911?
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


Briefs


trail mix


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Worth a Shot
  • Worth a Shot

    As preventable disease breaks out, concern for public health reaches a fever pitch
    • Feb 18, 2015
  • The Price of Progress
  • The Price of Progress

    Why the Spokane Tribe says it's still owed for Grand Coulee Dam
    • Apr 1, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation