#15 Post Falls, Idaho

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Metro Spokane Places to Live

2020 population: 38,145
Drive time to downtown Coeur d’Alene: 15 minutes
Drive time to downtown Spokane: 30 minutes

Post Falls is one of the fastest growing communities in the country.

Overall Character: ★★☆☆☆
Urban: ★☆☆☆☆
Suburban: ★★★★☆
Walkability: ★☆☆☆☆
Market Activity: ★★★★★
Farm Town: ☆☆☆☆☆
Timber Town: ★☆☆☆☆
Lake / River Town: ★★★★★

Post Falls Community Description

What was once a bustling logging town on the Spokane River has bloomed into one of the nation’s fastest growing suburbs. Post Falls sacrificed its soul at the alter of suburbanization long ago. I wonder what prayer to the gods Post Falls city council said before the sacrifice, because the virgin they slaughtered was main street.

The tragedy of Post Falls is it was once one of metro Spokane’s true central cities. Due to self-inflicted wounds, however, it is nothing more than a suburb today. The character of the old logging community is nearly 100% wiped away. What’s left is an urban fiction of strip malls and subdivisions. Yet, by some divine intervention, urban non-fiction is beginning to rear its head in Post Falls despite three decades of ritualistic sacrifice.

Located on the Rathdrum Prairie, Post Falls’ generally flat landscape has spurred a frenzy of real estate development north of Interstate-90 – subdivision after subdivision. Contributing to the market dynamic, Post Falls is near enough to the city of Spokane to provide a relatively easy commute yet is located in a jurisdictional environment more competitive than Washington’s. Which is to say, state and local real estate development regulations are less restrictive (i.e., more affordable) in Idaho than in Washington. What metro Spokane gets in return is the nation’s fastest growing suburb. Welcome to Post Falls.

Post Falls is emerging from an era whereby it tried to wipe away its history via wholesale demolition and bum deals with developers that never came through. Yet, perhaps unfortunately for suburbanites, history has a bad habit of repeating itself. Them old Post Falls bones have some life left in ‘em, it turns out. The Spokane River is still there, almost forgotten, but those with foresight, those who had the wisdom to set aside public space along the river back when the river was nothing more than a right of way to float logs down, back when the river was nothing more than an asset to harvest for energy, back in the days when Post Falls had a main street south of Interstate-90, back in the days when Post Falls had a main street, period. Those old remnants of wisdom are now the kindling that might just start a wildfire of walkable, placemaking, urban reinvestment.

The past 30 years have seen immense growth in Post Falls north of Interstate-90. My crystal ball says the next 30 years will see investment south of interstate-90.

For the metro’s sake, for Post Falls’ sake, I sure hope my crystal ball works.

(Featured image courtesy of Stan Peterson)

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