Spokane Journal of Business

Top Stories

Employers add 2,220 jobs

Employers in Spokane County added about 2,220 jobs in February, according to preliminary numbers published by the Washington state Employment Security Department, which are based on data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The countywide unemployment rate for February came in at 6.3 percent, down from 6.5 percent in January and 6.6 percent in February 2018. The figures were published one week after the Employment Security Department reported a statewide decline of 8,700 jobs for the month, compared with January employment levels. 

Excelsior receives grant

The Washington state Department of Commerce awarded $7.1 million in grants to six health care facilities, to add 71 beds to facilities that help people with behavioral health issues. The funds include a $485,000 award to Excelsior Youth Center, in north Spokane, to add eight beds. The funds are intended to cover construction and equipment costs, and recipients are required to maintain the additional beds for at least
10 years.

Glacier acquires Nevada bank

Glacier Bancorp, the Kalispell, Mont.-based parent of Coeur d’Alene-based Mountain West Bank, has agreed to acquire Heritage Bancorp, the bank holding company for Reno-based Heritage Bank of Nevada. Heritage has seven branches throughout northern Nevada and total assets of $829.7 million, loans of $595.6 million, and deposits of $720.5 million as of Dec. 31. According to the agreement, Heritage shareholders will receive four shares of Glacier stock and $12 for each Heritage
share owned.

Washington Trust buys building

Spokane-based Washington Trust Bank has agreed to buy the 17-story Wells Fargo Center, at 601 W. First in downtown Spokane, from Inland Northwest Health Services. The terms of the transaction, which is expected to be completed April 19, weren’t disclosed. The Spokane County Assessor’s Office lists the assessed value for the Wells Fargo Center at $21 million. To see a related story, go to page B1.

Avista puts $7M into initiatives

Avista Corp., of Spokane, has committed more than $7 million in funding to Spokane-area initiatives, including homelessness, small-town pride, and youth success. The money comes from Avista shareholders through various philanthropy programs, the company said, and is being donated as part of its 130th anniversary celebration.

Innovation Alleyway effort launched

The city of Spokane is launching an Innovation Alleyway initiative to make downtown alleys more pedestrian friendly. The effort will focus on Railroad Alley, on the north side of the railroad viaduct between Cedar and Washington streets, and Steam Plant Alley, on the south side of the viaduct.

Clearwater introduces new stock 

Clearwater Paper Corp., of Spokane, has launched a new brand of drinking cup paper stock. Called NuVo, the new product line is being offered to foodservice operators with an option of containing up to 32 percent post-consumer recycled fiber.