Ivan Bush, Resident Since 1978

"At one time the East Central neighborhood was the most diverse neighborhood in the city."

In this interview Ivan Bush, who has lived in the East Central neighborhood for over 35 years, identifies some of the most influential institutions and leaders over the past few decades and emphasizes the diversity that has characterized the neighborhood.

Indeed, residents of East Central know that it has always been divided into two distinct areas: "below the bluff," the lower part of the hill known for its smaller, less expensive houses, and "above the bluff," the upper part with its larger, more stately homes. As a whole, it has also been one of the most economically impoverished areas in Spokane, largely left out of the city's development plans. The I-90 freeway exacerbated the situation by not only further dividing the neighborhood below the bluff, by effectively isolating it from the rest of Spokane. It also displaced hundreds of residents and, over time, has resulted in a less cohesive left East Central less cohesive than it once was. As Bush relates, the construction of the freeway has "created a mental and a physical division." Still, it is a unique neighborhood that is slowly recovering from the damage caused by the construction of the I-90. Its residents may lack material wealth but they are, according to Bush, "rich in so many other ways."

Images

Bethel AME Church, Mother's Day, 1936 (image L98-56.162 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

Bethel AME Church, Mother's Day, 1936 (image L98-56.162 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

Although Bethel was - and still is - a traditionally black church, it's easy to see the diversity that was common in the East Central neighborhood. View File Details Page

Ivan Bush (image courtesy of KPLU.org)

Ivan Bush (image courtesy of KPLU.org)

Prominent community organizer Ivan Bush is a longtime resident of the East Central Neighborhood. View File Details Page

A typical home located "above the bluff," 1937 (image L96-72.37 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

A typical home located "above the bluff," 1937 (image L96-72.37 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

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1947 - A typical home located "below the bluff" in East Central (image L87-1.52531-47 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture).

1947 - A typical home located "below the bluff" in East Central (image L87-1.52531-47 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture).

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The German Baptist Church at Hartson & Arthur, 1928 (image L87-1.37066-28 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

The German Baptist Church at Hartson & Arthur, 1928 (image L87-1.37066-28 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

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The remaining columns of the promenade in Liberty Park as seen looking south across the the I-90 freeway. Sperry/Centennial flour mill visible in distance, ca. 1970s (image courtesy of the digital collection, Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library)

The remaining columns of the promenade in Liberty Park as seen looking south across the the I-90 freeway. Sperry/Centennial flour mill visible in distance, ca. 1970s (image courtesy of the digital collection, Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library)

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Audio

Audio File 1

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Cite this Page:

Spokane Regional Health District's Neighborhoods Matter Program, & Frank Oesterheld, “Ivan Bush, Resident Since 1978,” Spokane Historical, accessed June 24, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/469.
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