Spokane is a city with a long commitment to environmental sustainability. In 1974, Spokane hosted the first World’s Fair to have an environmental theme, “Man Living in Harmony with Nature.” Today, sustainability efforts include a growing number of community gardens on city and privately owned land. The city’s motto “Near nature. Near Perfect” highlights Spokane’s unique and defining feature: the Spokane River and Falls that flow through the heart of downtown. This city of 209,000 people, the “Heart of the Inland Northwest,” is situated on the eastern edge of the Columbia Basin with forests to the west.
Spokane’s interfaith infrastructure is shaped by collaboration among interfaith organizations and activists who seek to promote understanding across religious traditions and to define the city as one of compassion. The city’s interfaith efforts were jump-started by an attempt to bring the Dalai Lama to Spokane, although enthusiasm for these initiatives has outlived this single goal. In recent years a coalition between community members and students at Eastern Washington University has defined the city’s interfaith landscape.