The Year That Was... 2008

25 Years of the Inlander

The Black Eyed Peas separate the world into those who were "2008" and those who were "2000-and-late." Marvel kicks off its crazy plan to rule the cinematic universe with IRON MAN. And a fresh-faced, wide-eyed young intern named DANIEL WALTERS joins the Inlander, just in time for the Great Recession to kick off.


In January of 2008, it didn't yet look like a recession and there hadn't been a market crash. Instead, the landscape of the Spokane market was a "relative malaise." We even interviewed a manager of a long-in-the-works project called "KENDALL YARDS." But that developer wasn't Greenstone — it was Marshall Chesrown. Five years later he'd declare nearly $72 million in bankruptcy.


"It's still a WONDERFUL LIFE" we proclaimed on the first holiday guide to come after after the economic crash. On the cover, an exhausted George Bailey staring off into the middle distance, drink in his hand.

"We're in a for a horrid recession," section editor Luke Baumgarten predicts, accurately. "Maybe even another depression." But from there, he delivers a stirring essay that wouldn't feel out of place in one of those old Christmas classics:

"Let's return to being a nation of friends and fathers and brothers and sisters and mothers," Baumgarten writes. "Let's not just be a nation of consumers."

Our annual gift guide, where we advised our readers on precisely how to consume, was just two weeks later.


click to enlarge The Nov. 27, 2008, issue
The Nov. 27, 2008, issue

We kicked off the year with 33 ideas to improve Spokane, including such ambitious notions as rehabbing Riverfront Park, bringing a grocery store downtown, reforming campaign finance for local elections and adding a police ombudsman to watch the cops. And we trusted Spokanites to answer even highly technical questions, with one "People on the Street" query asking strangers: "What do you think about Spokane County's phosphates ban?" They had thoughts. Detailed thoughts.


We devoted two entire cover stories to historical figures like 19th-century suffragette MAY HUTTON and unpacked the complicated legacy — and modern debate — around CHIEF SPOKANE GARRY. But we also sought to tell the stories of the less famous — writing obituaries of homeless Spokanites who had died that year. And in the "Where Are They Now" category, no section beat our 20 under 30 cover, which featured an ADAM HEGSTED long before he launched two restaurants in Kendall Yards and the Incrediburger franchise. And, of course, there was Baumgarten's profile of local museum "repatriator" GINGER EWING.

Later, Baumgarten married her.

Climate Action Committee Meeting @ Kootenai Environmental Alliance

Wed., July 15, 6:30 p.m., Wed., Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m. and Wed., Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m.
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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...