Breaking News
More () »

Boomtown: Top 10 stories on growth in Spokane, Inland Northwest for 2022

From major construction projects like the North-South Freeway, to fluctuating housing prices and a rise in homelessness- here's a look at the top Boomtown stories.

SPOKANE, Wash. — It's been another year of growth here in the Inland Northwest and KREM 2 News is dedicated to digging deeper and bringing you more on all the changes.

In our Boomtown series we examine major projects and changes as our region continues to grow.

Here is a look at the Top 10 Boomtown stories of 2022. The list is based on digital views of articles and videos on KREM.com, KREM 2+, YouTube and other digital channels.

10. Construction begins on Post Falls interchange

The I-90 and State Highway 41 interchange in Post Falls is getting a major facelift. Construction began on the mega project this summer and is expected to last a couple of years.

Once work is complete, the interchange will be shifted from Seltice to just north of I-90. 

9. Life on wheels: Rising costs force more people into permanent RV living

The booming population in the Inland Northwest has led to increased housing prices. Some families, struggling to keep up with the costs, are turning to RVs as a last resort.

“My RV. This is my place of living,” Chris Bill told us. “Hopefully, we’re not in this situation for long.”

After losing their jobs and falling behind on rent, Chris and his girlfriend moved into an RV. Chris said it’s not ideal but it’s better than nothing.

“There’s just not too many places or options,” he said. “It can be difficult, disappointing. But [we’re] goal oriented. We’ll be back there, back on our feet, in no time.”

8. Post Falls adjusts to population boom


Post Falls, Idaho has traditionally been seen as a town people pass through, whether on the way to Spokane or Coeur d’Alene. But lately, more people are making the border town a permanent stop. 

Post Falls’ population has grown to almost 40,000 residents at the 2020 census count. Now, longtime Post Falls locals are having to adjust to the growing population.

7. Historic McKinley School offering low to moderate-income housing with Spokane tax exemption

Red tape and city code haven't made it easy for work on the McKinley School to begin. But now progress at the historic school building is in sight.

In March, Spokane City Council approved a 12-year multi-family housing property tax exemption for the property. It's a tool the city uses to attract developers to build more housing units in Spokane.

According to the city, the McKinley Apartments will include 22 units in four buildings. Under the 12-year tax exemption agreement, 20% of the units must be set aside for low and moderate-income tenants.

6. 1,500 homes underway for Hayden's largest development project

Construction has begun on Hayden's largest development project: Hayden Canyon.

The master-planned community on 610 acres at Lancaster Road and north Government Way will one day boast more than 1,500 homes, ranging from townhouses and cottages to neighborhood homes and manor estates. Two and a half dwelling units will be allowed per acre.  

5. Paying for Spokane's homeless crisis

One impact of rising costs here in the Inland Northwest has been an increase in homelessness.

KREM 2 News followed the money to figure out how much money is being spent on homelessness, from encampment cleanups on state rights of way to disagreements between local non-profits and city leaders about how to use available funds.

4. North Idaho residents express concerns amid potential expansion of I-90

Since it was constructed in the 1960s, I-90 hasn't changed much: two lanes going east and west with 60,000 cars, trucks and semis every day.

As traffic volume continues to increase between the Washington state line and Coeur d'Alene, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is looking for ways to improve Interstate 90, which could include adding a third lane.

3. Spokane has highest rent increases in WA, top three nationwide

In May, Spokane had the highest rent increases in the state of Washington and is in the top three for highest rent spikes nationwide. The Ball family in Spokane Valley is just one of many families struggling to keep up with the growing rental rates.

The Balls moved to their house in Spokane Valley in March 2020 from Kentucky. They moved to Spokane thinking it would be an affordable option. 

That quickly changed. 

2. 'When will the North/South Freeway be completed?' What Spokane drivers can expect going forward

Imagine getting from Wandemere to I-90 in 12 minutes.

That's the promise of the North/South Freeway, an idea first conceived in the 1940s, a project that broke ground in 2001 and a corridor that, to this day, is still not finished.

It's a fact that's become a popular punchline.

"You know, I like to reference it as a mythical unicorn, but it's going to come to fruition," WSDOT Communications Manager Ryan Overton said. "We're going to see the fruits of the labor and it finally connects to I-90." 

Overton says the freeway should be finished by 2028. That's the latest estimate, at least.

1. Spokane named one of the top five markets for expected housing price drops

The last two years have been a whirlwind for Spokane's real estate market, but now there's speculation of a real estate correction for the Lilac City. 

According to Moody's Analytics, as reported by Fortune Magazine, they're forecasting Spokane is in the top five markets for housing price drops, with a forecasted drop of 5.22% for 2023 and a 4.11% drop for 2024.

The recent spike in mortgage interest rates is expected to be a part of the equation for the shift, but buyer fatigue could also be an issue.

Bonus 5 Stories

Before You Leave, Check This Out