by Inlander Staff

Urban Park -- SPOKANE - Developer Rob Brewster is planning to build a park -- not the grassy kind, but Havermale Park, a $16 million, mixed-use development located on the block between Sprague, Bernard, Riverside and Browne. The project includes renovating five buildings and constructing two new ones.

"There will be 37,000 square feet in retail space and roughly 160,000 square feet in apartments," Brewster says. "That's for 150 units, ranging in size from studio to large balcony [apartments]. A two-bedroom would range from $800-$1,100."

But some of Brewster's current tenants on or near this block worry whether they'll be able to stay when the development is done.

"I want to see them stay in business," Brewster says of his tenants. "I'm happy to have them as tenants now and in the future."

Brewster has mentioned how great a restaurant would fit in the space currently occupied by Colburn's Gallery

"I'd love to see something original and big-city feeling," says Brewster. "An Asian-Fusion restaurant is kind of cool. I'd love to see some other people step up to the plate, and I'd like to see them take some risk."

But John Waite, owner of Merlyn's Science Fiction Fantasy Store near the proposed development, wonders what these changes will mean for his business. Waite currently has a month-to-month lease with Brewster and says he's concerned that his rent will go up.

"I'll say that with the economy the way it is, I can't afford to pay any more," Waite says. "If they push people like me out, I'm not sure of what they're accomplishing."

The owner of Colburn's Gallery agrees. "We don't know how it's going to affect our business at all," says Mary Cordes. "What is there to say? We've done all we can do. We need all the breaks we can get."

Both Waite and Cordes say Conover Bond Development hasn't discussed an increase in rent with them. Both say they hope the Havermale project is a success.

"If it's a flourishing development, that would help," says Waite. "Realistically, I don't know how this is going to work out. Of course, we hope it works out. But there really needs to be some reality base." -- Cara Gardner

Salmon Savers -- SPOKANE -- Representing the Lands Council, the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and the Sierra Club, a dozen protesters gathered downtown Monday morning in front of Hotel Lusso, where Potlatch timber company shareholders were having their annual meeting.

With them they brought a hot tub on a trailer, a gallon of bleach, a woman dressed like Buster the Salmon and what looked like a handful of dead fish.

"We are here to demonstrate what the effects of hot water and chlorine bleach are on Snake River Salmon," said Rein Attemann of the Lands Council. "Forcing young salmon to swim through a gauntlet of polluted water is like piping auto exhaust into a school. We are calling on Potlatch to take immediate steps to protect salmon."

An elevated water temperature ruins otherwise prime salmon habitat, and these environmental groups allege that Potlatch's paper mill in Lewiston discharges 40 million gallons of 92-degree Fahrenheit wastewater into the Snake River every day.

In April, the National Marine Fisheries Service -- now NOAA Fisheries -- found higher temperatures, suspended solids and toxic chemicals within the Potlatch wastewater mixing zone near the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, according to a draft report.

Potlatch spokesperson Mike Sullivan says the groups should wait for the final report to be issued before they use any of the data found by NOAA.

"That amount of wastewater is at the peak of summer production," said Sullivan. "It's not on a daily basis."

Dr. John Osborn, founder of the Lands Council and a shareholder in Potlatch, presented a shareholder resolution at the meeting asking for a review of the company's dividend policy, saying that Potlatch has been paying out dividends while posting a net earning loss.

"I believe management should explore whether the dividends for this period might better serve shareholders if they were invested in required pollution controls at the Lewiston Mill," says Osborn.

Sullivan says Osborn's shareholder resolution failed, just like last year, and that there's nothing unusual about Potlatch's dividend policy.

"It's not uncommon for companies to pay out more dividends one year and perhaps less the next," says Sullivan. "That's a decision the board makes. They are the elected representatives of the shareholders." -- Pia K. Hansen

Publication date: 05/15/03

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