On Friday, the Spokesman-Review ran a story about just how few of the victims of Spokane's winter plague of potholes were able to convince the city to pay their claims. While the city has committed $1 million as part of "Fix-It-Fest 2017" to repair broken arterials and has a long-term strategy to make roads more resistant to potholes, the pothole struggles this year only solidified Spokane's longstanding pothole-pocked reputation.
Of course, for every fact about Spokane potholes, there are plenty of scurrilous, unsourced rumors. As a service to you, the reader, we've collected these rumors in one place, while recognizing that it's entirely possible that we made every one of these rumors up.
1. They say when you gaze into a Spokane pothole, the Spokane pothole also gazes into you.
2. They say if you put your ear to the edge of a Spokane pothole, and listen closely, you can hear the bloodcurdling screams of the damned souls of children who don't obey their parents.
3. They say that, back in 2010, 33 Chilean miners got trapped for two weeks in a Spokane pothole before being rescued.
4. They say that the only thing that can truly defeat a Spokane pothole is for it be swallowed up by an even bigger Spokane pothole.
5. They say you can't reach the bottom of a Spokane pothole until you truly reach the bottom of... yourself.
6. They say when you pour asphalt into a Spokane pothole, you just make it hungrier.
7. They say if you step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back three weeks later when that crack develops into a pothole on Freya and she drives straight into it.
8. They say that most Spokane potholes were created when the dwarves dug too greedily and too deep, and awoke shadow and flame in the darkness of Khazad-dûm.
9. They say that if you make a wish and throw a coin into a Spokane pothole, your wish will come true, but only if that wish involves significant damage to your tires and undercarriage.
10. They say that 15,000 years ago, a glacial ice dam in Missoula broke, sending two-story-tall water blitzing 60 miles an hour from Montana to the Pacific, ripping canyons in the earth and creating the first Spokane pothole.
11. They say you can no more permanently fill in a Spokane pothole than you can fill the emptiness that's always been inside of you.
12. They say that you can report a pothole to the city of Spokane by screaming "HEEEELLLP!" from the bottom of the hole and hoping that a passerby hears you and alerts the authorities.
13. They say that sci-fi writer Jules Verne proved how incredibly prescient he was when he described a harrowing expedition into a Spokane pothole in his 1864 classic, Journey Into the Heart of Freya Street.
14. They say that to inspect a pothole, street employees are handed a flashlight, a flare gun, a parachute, and the promise of a $10,000 payment to their next of kin.
15. They say that teacher says, 'Every time the Council squabbles, Spokane gets another pothole."
16. They say a Spokane pothole is by far the easiest way to enter the Upside Down.
17. They say that Spokane automotive shops make so much money replacing wheels and fixing alignments busted by potholes, that in Spokane, that tire store is known as More Schwab.
18. They say that for every pothole the city fills, three more will rise up to take their place. The city sees it as street repair. The potholes see it as a revolution.
19. They say that there's a fleck on the speck on the flea on the tail on the frog on the bump on the log in the hole in the middle of the street.
20. They say that many of the Spokane potholes have hungry tigers pacing inside them, a fiendish snare for any invading pirates.
21. They say that every time a Spokane resident buys an insurance policy, the insurance company sends out a grizzled old man with glassy eyes, who will tap on the hood of your car with his gnarled cane. Then he'll shake you by the shoulders and whisper into your ear with an urban rasp. "You fool! You don't understand what path you're tryin' to tread on! Steer clear of them ol' Spokane streets, ya hear?"
22. They say that Gov. Jay Inslee has legally declared at least one Spokane pothole to be a Hellmouth.
23. They say that the technical, medical term for potholes is actually Asphaltitis Vulgaris.
24. They say that the city is spending $12 million in state, local and federal dollars to build a bridge to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross a Sprague Avenue pothole.
25. They say many Spokane street department employees have ventured into Spokane potholes. But few return. The ones that do come back... come back wrong. They'll complain that all food tastes like gravel and every drink tastes like stormwater. They'll be talking to you about something innocent, like the weather or basketball, and then stop mid-sentence, and stare ahead, mouth agape. Thick, black tears will ooze from their eyes. A minute will pass, and then — their lips still frozen and trembling — an unnatural sound will issue from their mouths, something between a shriek and a growl and a slurp. Although these sounds are nothing like human speech, words will echo in the minds of those who hear them: "THE VOID CANNOT BE CLOSED. THE VOID CANNOT BE FILLED. THE VOID CAN ONLY BE FED."
In other words, the city is doing a lot to improve the streets, but it still has a long way to go.