Paul Turner: What will have happened to Spokane in 31 years?

July 24, 2018

Today is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 astronauts splashing down in the Pacific after completing their historic moon mission.

I suspect almost anyone who was alive then had the same thought in 1969: Welcome home.

I realize there are those who find all that real-life space stuff quite boring, which is rather sad. They must not have ever looked up at the night sky and engaged their imaginations.

But apparently Richard Nixon had. In reading about the 49th anniversary of Apollo 11, I saw that he had been so geeked about men walking on the moon that he was moved to predict we would visit new worlds and discover life on distant planets by the year 2000, 31 years hence.

Soon enough, he would have more immediate concerns. Problems that even a trip to Spokane to open Expo ’74 could not fix. But his forecast makes me wonder. What do you think might have happened in Spokane by 31 years from now?

I’ll go first.

By 2049, Spokane waiters and waitresses will have stopped removing dinner plates from the table while others are still eating.

By 2049, Spokane waiters and waitresses will have stopped asking diners, “You still workin’ on that?”

By 2049, Spokane, firmly in the grip of the Mega-SUV lobby, will have discovered new and better ways to blame potholes on bicycles and buses.

By 2049, GU men’s basketball, playing before sparse crowds at home, will have won its 37th consecutive WCC title.

By 2049, many residents of New Idaho – the ultraconservative enclave in what once was known as Spokane Valley – will have begun to reconsider the city’s pass laws requiring liberals and moderates to be out of town by sundown each day.

By 2049, the last remaining band of resistance marmots will have fled to Canada after shooting it out with extermination squads hired by developers.

By 2049, personal helicopters will have arrived, leading to carnage in the skies over Spokane.

By 2049, unvaccinated children and their parents will be restricted to a dome-covered portion of the city known as Old Spokane.

By 2049, discussions about completing the North/South Freeway will be stalled.

By 2049, The Spokesman-Review will produce a series of articles featuring area residents who are old enough to remember when area lakes would freeze over in winter.

By 2049, the last mainline church in Spokane will have been converted to a casino.

By 2049, the jury will still be out on the wisdom of converting Bloomsday and Hoopfest to a combined 12K mixed martial arts competition.

By 2049, efforts by the police administration to discourage local teens from parachuting off the 84-story Amazon Tower in downtown Spokane will have run afoul of objections raised by the Police Guild.

By 2049, rising Puget Sound water levels will have forced the Seattle Pinot Sippers (the city’s NHL team) to temporarily relocate to Spokane and the new Home School Arena.

By 2049, homelessness will be all but eliminated in Spokane.

By 2049, irate citizens will appear before the City Council to complain about the length of the wildfire season.

By 2049, through some miracle, only those capable of taking care of children will become parents.

By 2049, Spokane will be virtually litter-free.

By 2049, it will no longer snow here, which will create a number of problems but will also reduce complaining about various issues related to street plowing.

By 2049, we will have figured out a way to deal with those inclined to drive while distracted by electronic devices or impaired by intoxicating substances.

By 2049, area residents will have acquired the habit of actually naming the lake that is their destination.

By 2049, aliens from a distant galaxy will have arrived and proposed a politically feasible resolution to the debate surrounding guns.

By 2049, Spokane area animal shelters will no longer have to kill unwanted dogs and cats because the pet population will be under control.

By 2049, those same aliens from outer space will have suggested how we might do away with racism.

By 2049, winter will last only about two weeks so those in Spokane who loudly pine for summer won’t have long to wait.

By 2049, no one will play golf anymore and that land will be used for low-income housing.

By 2049, everyone in America will know how to pronounce “Spokane” because the next president is from here.

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