First conceived as a potential attraction in the redevelopment of Riverfront Park, a zipline soaring over the river in the heart of Spokane has been slowly inching its way from vision to reality since 2017.

Similar public/private partnerships aimed at revitalizing and invigorating cities and public parks have recently become a hot international trend. So when the zipline concept didn’t make the cut for the park redevelopment, the Downtown Spokane Partnership began to convene stakeholders to determine what it would take to bring the exciting attraction to the banks of the Spokane River, celebrating our region’s most precious natural asset.

Recent dramatic economic, social, and physical health challenges in Spokane have taken their toll. The presence of a unique, exciting, adventure would help revitalize some of the hardest-hit sectors of the local economy; such as hospitality and retail.

As proposed, the project requires no public funding. Private contractors would bid on the project, providing for all expenses associated with the design, engineering, construction, and ongoing maintenance and operation. The selected private partner would also bear the burden of compliance to industry standards and safety inspections, holding the City of Spokane harmless from liability.

Spokane Parks and Recreation will enjoy a percentage of gross revenues through a lease agreement. The City of Spokane will only be required only to provide space for launch and landing platforms and access to a limited number of infrastructural utilities. Additionally, a percentage of lease revenues and profits would be allocated to the support of youth or charitable organizations and provide complimentary passes to benefit local nonprofits and other groups.

Preliminary feasibility designs place the launch platform on the overlook plaza located at CSO 26 north of the downtown Library, where design considerations have been implemented by the City for the possible integration of the zips as a part of the CSO project. The side by side zipline attraction would run 1,200 feet through the arches of the Monroe Street Bridge and over the river’s edge, landing at a platform to be located on City of Spokane property east of Red Band Park. This design leverages amazing views of the falls, and neatly ties the riverbank west of the falls in with the eastern, more visible, part of Riverfront Park.

Avista has agreed to provide land, infrastructure and utilities for a secondary “practice zip” ticket booth and concession area, harness area, and electric shuttle cart charging power station. This area has been designed to fit into the current Riverfront Park improvements on Avista-owned lands.

Leading Industry builder and zipline expert, Erik Marter, of Synergo has conducted site visits and provided preliminary design and feasibility studies. Respected adventure industry business development expert, Paul Cummings, of Strategic Adventures has also conducted a site visit and provided insight regarding feasibility, marketing, economic impact and market potential. Bernardo-Wills Architects has completed a set of renderings to showcase what the completed zipline might look like. There is no doubt that this project will provide an iconic draw and have an immediate impact to downtown and surrounding businesses.

In 2021, DSP and Parks Department staff have continued to make progress on advancing the Zipline, and its list of endorsements continues to grow with support from:

  • Downtown Spokane Partnership Board
  • The Spokane Park Board
  • Riverside Neighborhood Council
  • Peaceful Valley Neighborhood Council
  • Avista
  • The Hotel-Motel Association
  • Greater Spokane Incorporated
  • Greenstone Homes
  • The Kendall Yards Business Association

Currently the proposal is being reviewed by members of the Spokane City Council and City of Spokane Administration.

For inquiries into the current status of the proposal and endorsements, email info@downtownspokane.org.

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