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Big City Living: The Madison

click to enlarge Cara Lorello in her Madison building studio with her boyfriend Luke Thayer. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Cara Lorello in her Madison building studio with her boyfriend Luke Thayer.

Cara Lorello, who grew up in a rural area on the West Plains, has made a home in downtown Spokane, where most of the time her car stays parked.

"I love living downtown because I can walk to work," says Lorello, toting a paper bag full of groceries outside of the Madison, where she rents a studio apartment. "I can walk to the store, and it's close to public transit."

She used to pay about $80 to park her 2003 Pontiac Sunfire in a lot. But she says her car was still broken into, and now she buys monthly $25 passes from the city to park her car on the street. That's where it remains most of the time, when she's not using it to visit her family, who live outside of Spokane.

"I love walking," she continues. "In the winter it's tougher, so I bus it. You've got to really plan your navigation, even if you have a car. If you do street parking, like me, you're better off just leaving it and busing it. That way you at least won't lose your spot. When I can't find a spot, I have to park all the way in a friend's driveway in Browne's Addition where the street parking's free, and I have to walk home."

Growing up on the West Plains, Lorello says it took her years to learn how to fully appreciate public transit. Now, she says, "I love [public transit] and I wish the city would throw more money at it."

Previously, she's lived in Cheney and Browne's Addition. Before moving downtown, Lorello says she commuted to Spokane for work from a rented house on the West Plains for three years, where she lived with three of her younger sisters, all of their kids and one bathroom.

Lorello, 34, works as a temp for an insurance company digitizing documents. She's lived in her 300-square-foot studio apartment since November 2013. It's a bit small, she says. It has an alleyway kitchen, a shower with no bathtub and one main room that functions as a bedroom and living room, which makes entertaining difficult.

"I don't often [go out to bars or restaurants]," she says. "But this is the place to be if you want to be close to the nightlife."

Lorello says her apartment's rent falls within her budget. She might get a one-bedroom someday if she makes more money. But for now, "I like this place." ♦

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