Mar 18 , 2014
We are proud to be a part of powering your future.
On March 13, 1889, Avista, formerly known as Washington Water Power, was incorporated eight months before the Washington Territory became a state. Today, the company is one of only three companies remaining in the state that are classified as Territorial Corporations – incorporated before Washington’s statehood. (See a Video of the presentation.)
The company began on the banks of the Spokane River with the Monroe Street plant, using hydropower to generate electricity for the growing city of Spokane Falls. Today, clean, renewable resources remain a significant part of the company’s diversified mix for energy generation.
Over the generations of providing energy services, one thing has remained constant for our company: We are honored to provide the energy and resources that have helped families and commerce be successful, whether it is in the home, enjoying the outdoors or building successful businesses. We’re proud to call each community we serve “home,” and we’re proud to be your partner in bringing energy for life.
History by Region
Our service territory spans more than 30,000 miles throughout Washington, Northern Idaho, and Oregon. The communities we serve have a rich history that we’re proud to be part of. We’ve captured some of these highlights in our 125th Anniversary Tabloid. You can view it online or download and print. We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane by region.
Huntington Park in Downtown Spokane to open in May
On May 2, 2014, Avista will celebrate the renovation of Huntington Park, property the company owns along the banks of the Spokane River, just west of Spokane’s City Hall. The renovation and enhancements include work on the walkways, grassy areas and structures to provide residents and visitors greater access to the river and views of the falls.
A new plaza at City Hall will be dedicated that day as a gift to Spokane in celebration of the company’s 125 anniversary. The new plaza will create open-air space for gatherings and river viewing, and includes two water features and a fire feature.
For the first time in more than 100 years, the view of the spectacular lower falls of the Spokane River will be opened up for easy viewing from the park, the plaza or the streets of Spokane.
Learn more about Huntington Park.
Salmon Chief to oversee Huntington Park
Artist Virgil “Smoker” Marchand created an inspirational Native American sculpture – Salmon Chief - to oversee Huntington Park, which will be dedicated in May.
Marchand says the sculpture represents a Native American tradition of a man who was appointed to ensure all area tribes received enough Salmon to make it through the winter.
The Native American sitting atop his horse is raising the salmon like a blessing to the river. The horse and man statute is over 12-feet tall and took more than three weeks to make. Several other pieces will be added to the display in the spring.
Mar 12 , 2014
Why would engineers from Bangladesh come all the way to Spokane? To see Avista’s smart grid upgrades up close and personal, of course.
Members of Bangladesh’s Rural Electrification Board are spending several weeks in Pullman learning about power engineering from Washington State University faculty. Their curriculum includes a field trip to Avista.
They learned about the investments Avista’s made to transform Pullman, Wash into the region’s first “smart city,” toured one of our state-of-the art substations and traveled to Spokane to meet with 3 Avista engineers who are leading our grid modernization projects. They saw first-hand how the switches, sensors and software we’ve installed are improving reliability for customers and enhancing the energy efficiency of our distribution system.
“We are working for the villagers,” said Abdul Aziz, an executive engineer with the Rural Electrification Board. “We are learning methods at WSU that will help us bring the villagers better service and an improved distribution system.”
Our friends from Bangladesh learned a lot from our engineers -- and they’ll bring those lessons home.
We can’t wait to share our knowledge with another group of Bangladesh visitors later this month.
Nov 27 , 2013
It’s part of our DNA...sharing our time, talent and treasure with those most in need in the communities Avista serves. This year is no exception.
The bright smiling face of KREM2’s Tom Sherry can only be matched by the warmth and thankfulness of those who receive Thanksgiving dinners during the annual Tom’s Turkey Drive each year.
Avista employees and the Avista Credit Union donated $8,900 which was matched by the Avista Foundation for a total donation of $17,800. These funds help provide approximately 11,000 meals – the goal for this year. That amount would feed 40,000 – 50,000 people (based on 4-6 servings per meal). Avista’s total donation will pay for 890 meals, thus feeding 3,600 to 5,300 individuals.
Avista’s history with Tom’s Turkey Drive dates back to the very beginning. Avista was one of the first companies to join with Sherry in this annual event. Once we were on board, other companies wanted to join, too. It’s a program that aligns with Avista’s strategy of supporting community vitality.
On another giving front, Avista employees helped sort and distribute thousands of items to help Spokane community members stay warm through Project Warm-Up. The program provides thousands of knitted, crocheted and sewn items for those in need through 51 non-profit agencies. Since the program began in 1991, more than 100,000 items have been distributed.
Earlier this month our employees helped sort, count and prepare thousands of items for distribution. They enjoyed seeing all of the items created by more than 200 talented volunteers. The youngest volunteer is an 8-year-old great-granddaughter of a senior volunteer, while the oldest is 98, according to the Project Warm Program Coordinator, Teri Wallace.
The majority of crafters are housebound and Project Warm-Up is their way of being able to give back to the community from their home. Knowing they are helping someone in need gives the volunteers a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Other volunteers are people who live in retirement apartment complexes or assisted living facilities, are high school-aged individuals who are fulfilling a community service requirement or even younger who participate just for the fun of it.
Project Warm-Up is one of the many community programs that Avista staff enthusiastically gives their time and energy to support. Over a three-day period, Avista staff loaded, sorted, counted, and delivered 7,800 items that had been stored in our Post Street facility all year.
During this holiday season, we are warmed by the giving spirit our employees demonstrate in so many ways.
Aug 21 , 2013
The beginning of school is full of anticipation for most children. But for some, it can be less than exciting when the family income won’t stretch far enough to include new school supplies. For the second year, Avista employees stepped up to partner with the Salvation Army in Spokane to make sure kids in need had the pencils and paper and back packs they need when school starts in a few short weeks.
Over 90 employees dressed in bright blue “Human Power” t-shirts were in-take workers and give-away helpers to more than 4,100 children headed to classes in kindergarten through 12th grade. The children are part of more than 1,700 families from the Spokane area – families that have one less worry, now, with the new school year ahead.
Avista employees’ generosity goes well beyond volunteering their time for this all-day event. Together with the Avista Credit Union, they contributed $5,000 to the Salvation Army, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Avista Foundation, for a total donation of $10,000 to the 2013 “Back Pack for Kids”.
Jul 08 , 2013
launched an eight-month project today to renovate land it owns south and west of our Post Street substation in downtown Spokane. The area, known as Huntington Park, is named for the third president of the company, David L. Huntington, who served from 1910 to 1927. The renovation project is scheduled for completion in early 2014. A copy of the revised concept plan
(PDF) is available online.
The renovation and enhancements to the walkways, grassy areas and structures will provide residents and visitors with greater access to the Spokane River and views of the falls. The project will provide visitors with interpretive displays, more park-like amenities and enhanced safety in the area.
Much of the project area falls within the scope of the federal license Avista Utilities
has to operate the Spokane River Hydroelectric Projects. Under that license and the Federal Power Act, the utility has an obligation to enhance public access near the river and recreation facilities appropriate to the setting.
“Our goal is to make the park more inviting and easier to access, as well as to tie it in with Riverfront Park, as the city moves forward with its master planning process,” said Avista Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris. “We’re very excited to have Huntington Park once again be the gateway to the lower falls of the river, much like it was when it was dedicated some 40 years ago as the city was preparing for Expo 74.”
The renovation of the 3.8-acre parcel, along with the addition of a public plaza that will replace a parking lot on the north side of City Hall, will foster greater connectivity between Riverfront Park and Huntington Park. Improvements include a new pedestrian crosswalk across Post Street between Riverfront Park and City Hall, new stairs, ramps, sidewalks, lighting, grassy areas and seating. An old power turbine and other artifacts will be added for interpretive displays, and a viewing area of the falls on the northwest corner of the historic Post Street substation building will be updated.
The project is scheduled to begin today and run through March 2014, to finish in advance of Avista’s 125th Anniversary and the 40th Anniversary of the World’s Fair in Riverfront Park.
Jul 01 , 2013
Avista plays a major part in the communities we serve. And when a community event such as Hoopfest is right in our backyard, we want to be a part of it.
Hoopfest in Spokane is the largest outdoor 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the world with more than 200,000 fans, 28,000 players on 7,000 teams, and 3,000 volunteers squeezed into 40 downtown city blocks. With all these teams and players, keeping track of where and what time their games are can be a daunting task. That’s where Avista comes in.
As a sponsor of the Avista Master Scoreboard, Avista provides a 40-person volunteer crew who puts in 550 hours each year to build and run a makeshift outdoor IT department.
Employees work tirelessly to ensure the Ethernet network is running properly so scores and brackets are updated in real-time. In all, Avista supplies and lays more than 1,000 feet of Ethernet, 300 feet of fiber optic cable and 250 feet of telephone line to connect 20 computers in 15 locations across downtown Spokane.
Avista also keeps players and spectators connected during the tournament with free phone charging stations. These stations can charge up to 12 phones at one time and the Hoopfest attendees put them to the test this year. “Cool”, “Great idea”, and “I really needed to use this, my phone was almost dead,”, are just a few of the accolades overheard by users of the charging stations.
The Hoopfest Social Media ambassadors used the stations throughout the weekend to keep their phones charged as they Tweeted and used Facebook to send out updates. They were captured here in a video
. KXLY News 4 (ABC) in Spokane also highlighted Avista’s volunteer efforts in a news story
leading up to the event.
So, when we say we’re active participants in the communities we serve, we’re really saying that we were wired into everything that was going on this weekend in Spokane’s premier sporting event...and it was fun!
May 15 , 2013
We’ve heard it many times in the past: Paul Redmond was Mr. Washington Water Power. Redmond, retired chairman, president and CEO of WWP, now named Avista, was recently recognized for his lifetime of leadership both in our company and in the Inland Northwest. Avista Corp. established the Paul A. Redmond Endowed Engineering Scholarship at Gonzaga University School of Engineering and Applied Science in honor Redmond, a 1959 Gonzaga alumnus.
The fund seeks to honor the legacy of Redmond’s leadership at Avista and to promote excellence in the field of engineering “such that scholars become innovators, problem-solvers and diverse, talented employees of our future.”
Scholarships will be awarded to engineering students who are entering juniors and possess a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0, with preference given to women and minority students, and to students with U.S. military experience – including active-duty military personnel, veterans and ROTC students.
“We’re pleased to honor Paul’s legacy of leadership at WWP/Avista and to recognize the significant impacts he made in our community and our region,” said Scott Morris, Avista Corp. chairman, president and CEO. “Creating an endowed scholarship at Paul’s alma mater, Gonzaga University, seems a fitting way to help prepare the engineers of the future and bring his legacy to life for others for years to come.”
Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh singled out Redmond’s leadership style that placed great value on an uncanny ability to bring people together.
“Whether developing a company, a city, a region or a whole industry, Paul Redmond consistently and creatively demonstrated the power that comes with bringing people together to work toward a greater goal,” President McCulloh said. “This is why I am so pleased we have a scholarship that bears Paul Redmond’s name so that all future recipients will come to know his name, his story and the power of collaboration.”
Stephen Silliman, dean of Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, credited Redmond for building upon Gonzaga’s historic partnership with Avista, a collaboration responsible for development of Gonzaga’s Transmission and Distribution Program
, establishment of the Avista Scholars program and creation of the Redmond Engineering Scholarship.
“The relationship that Avista has developed with Gonzaga University is an exciting model of how industry can partner with schools to create exceptional opportunities for students, faculty, industry, and the regions we serve,” Silliman said. “It’s fitting that this scholarship seeks to develop in our students those leadership skills important in the engineering profession and exemplified by Paul Redmond. It is also fitting that this scholarship provides a unique opportunity to build a more diverse engineering profession through focusing support on women, those with military experience, and others traditionally underrepresented in our engineering programs.
Pictured above: (From left) Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh; Paul Redmond; Avista Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris; and Stephen Silliman, dean of the Gonzaga School of Engineering and Applied Science. Photo by Rajah Bose, Gonzaga University.
Apr 10 , 2013
Your friends and neighbors will be green with envy if you win the playhouse that Avista employees built to support a brand new community fundraising event called Project Playhouse Spokane.
The 8-foot square playhouse sits atop a giant wooden recycled cable spool, has a solar panel that powers LED lights inside the playhouse and here’s the best feature – there’s a turbine-like propeller mounted on the exterior that you can spin by turning the attached wheel inside the playhouse. How cool is that?!
It’s sure to provide tons of fun for your children or grandkids! It could be yours – if you have the winning bid!
Avista’s playhouse will be one of 10 whimsical playhouses that will be auctioned off this Saturday to raise funds for the West Central Community Center, Northeast Youth Center and Peaceful Valley Community Center. All three centers provide support for local children and youth.
Avista employees volunteered their time and talent to design and build the playhouse. About half of the $3,000 in materials was donated by several vendors, while Avista contributed the other half, along with lots of creativity and enthusiasm.
“It was really fun to see it all come together. We used wind power as our design inspiration to give the playhouse an ‘energy’ theme. With the propeller for a wind turbine, solar panel, LED lights and recycled cable spool, it actually looks like something you’d expect to be created by a utility. We’re even including some safety cones and hard hats with the playhouse,” said Avista’s Jayson Hunnel, who spearheaded the effort and rallied employees to help build the creation.
It’s exciting for Avista to be part of the first-time ever Project Playhouse Spokane Auction. Let’s see how much money we can raise for the three centers and the children and youth that will benefit from the auction proceeds.
This is just one example of how Avista and our employees contribute our time, talent and treasure to the communities we serve.
For more information on Project Playhouse Spokane, call the West Central Community Center at 509-323-7480.
Feb 01 , 2013
Each year Avista makes more than $1 million in donations to non-profit organizations in the communities we serve. In 2012, that giving totaled more than $1.6 million, up from $1.4 million in 2011. Funding for these donations comes from Avista Corp. and the Avista Foundation
. It is not included as a cost to customers in developing retail rates.
And, our employees are generous with their time and talents as well. Last year, Avista employees gave nearly 50,000 hours of volunteer service to community organizations in their hometowns.
One of the largest volunteer efforts in 2012 was Avista’s participation in the Salvation Army’s annual “Backpack for Kids” program. Partnering alongside community volunteers, more than 120 employees staffed the 10-hour day, giving away more than 3,700 backpacks stuffed with school supplies, serving more than 1,500 families.
“Even without the charity this company gives to the community, Avista and its employees make the Inland Northwest a better place to live,” said Captain Kyle Smith, Salvation Army Corps officer. “We greatly appreciate the leadership Avista has shown throughout the years in strengthening the safety net services for those most in need in our community.”
Supporting essential human care services as well as the arts, education and economic vitality are essential elements of our role as a partner in the communities we serve.
Dec 26 , 2012
Households that are having trouble paying their heating bills this winter will receive help as the result of $226,000 in donations Avista and our employees made to Project Share (see news release).
An additional $100,000 is going to 19 human care service organizations in eastern Washington chosen by our CAREs representatives (Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Service).
“We know that the economy of our service territory continues to be depressed and that it is difficult for families to make ends meet. The organizations receiving these Project Share and CARES donations are an important safety net, and they provide important assistance that helps those most in need meet the costs of housing, food and medicine, and keeping their homes warm this winter,” said Scott Morris, chairman, president and CEO of Avista Corp.
Project Share will receive $226,000 from Avista and its employees. The program, which is administered by SNAP in eastern Washington and by community action programs in other areas of our service territory, provides emergency grants to help families meet energy costs regardless of the fuel used to heat their home. In 2011, more than 2,100 households received emergency energy assistance through Project Share. The funds for this donation come from company profits and employee donations and are not included as a cost to customers in developing rates.
“This donation is another amazing example of Avista taking the initiative to support our neighbors during difficult times,” said SNAP CEO Julie Honekamp. “We greatly value this collaborative effort that continues to be a vital benefit to our community. More homes will stay warm throughout the winter because of this.”
Additionally, Avista is partnering with 19 community service agencies in eastern Washington to make grants for energy assistance to qualifying Avista customers in need this winter.
Avista has contributed a total of $100,000 to the agencies for customers who have exhausted all other available energy assistance resources. The organizations were identified by Avista’s CARES representatives, who are specially trained and who work closest with our most vulnerable customers.
The funds for the CARES donations come from a state utility tax credit Avista receives that is associated with our low-income energy assistance programs.