Click to view restored Spokane Falls.

Spokane Falls is the heart and historic foundation of the Spokane community, and a gathering place for Indian peoples for thousands of years. 

For nearly a century, the waterfalls went dry during summer and autumn months:  water was diverted to generate electricity. 

In the process of relicensing five dams on the Spokane River, Avista, Sierra Club, and the Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) agreed to restore aesthetic flows to Spokane Falls.  Click to view:  Landmark Agreement Restores Flows in Spokane Falls.

Pursuant to the Sierra Club-CELP settlement agreement with Avista Corp., channel restoration work began at the Upper Spokane Falls on August, 2011. CELP and Sierra Club participated as design team members and were on-site to assess results.

Historic gouging of the river bed for mill races and sewer lines funnels the flow of water into trenches, leaving the face of the falls bone dry during summer months. A few well-placed weirs and grouted concrete (formed and colored to resemble basalt) even out the flow and restore the falls to their true beauty. The City of Spokane's removal of the YMCA building created new viewing sites that makes this work all the more important.

The journey to restore water to Spokane Falls is nearly complete, and awaits a community Thanksgiving.

These Falls, which have fallen further,

which sit dry and quiet as a graveyard now -

These Falls are that place where ghosts of salmon jump,

where ghosts of women mourn their children

who will never find their way back home. ...

~ Sherman Alexie,

excerpt from “The Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump”

Interpretive sign on the South Bank of Lower Spokane Falls, just steps from City Hall.  The City should advocate for restoring the waterfalls. Spokane is unique in the United States as a major city that enjoys spectacular waterfalls within its downtown area.

Website Contents -

  1. -  How it looks:  Labor Day 2012

  1. -  Settlement Celebration - photos

  1. -  Sierra Club/CELP - Avista Agreement

  1. -  News Room

  1. -  Historic Significance

  1. -  Testing Aesthetic Flows

North Channel with water.  Landscape architectural firm Land Expressions places temporary barriers to assess aesthetics of redirected water.  Later, the modifications would become permanent to restore the beauty of power of Spokane Falls.

Restoring Spokane Falls

Old YMCA before demolition, to open Riverfront Park to Spokane Falls.
Demolition underway.
Testing flows:  which flow do you prefer?  (continued)