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Tired of Seattle? Hacking Washington campaign seeks to lure jobs, people to Spokane

(Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review via AP)

By: KIRO 7 News Staff

If the mayor of Spokane has his way, more jobs from Seattle and the workers who want them could be moving to eastern Washington.

Spokane Mayor David Condon has been visiting the Seattle area promoting #HackingWashington. 

In case you don’t understand the whole hashtag thing, there’s no city of Hacking in Washington.

Hacking Washington is a marketing initiative that basically says while Seattle is still a “special” place, the long commute times and high cost of living have residents and businesses looking to go elsewhere, and that place should be Spokane.

So, in other words, moving yourself or your business to Spokane is a way for Seattleites to “hack” Washington. Get it?

Part of the pitch includes selling Spokane as a place with a strong job market, educated workforce, cheap housing and shorter commutes.

The hackingwashington.com website features such slogans as “You used to think you could have it all in Washington. We still do,” “Raise your profits by lowering the cost of everything,” and “Ahh, to be young, entrepreneurial and able to afford the rent,” interspersed with beauty shots of scenery and people recreating and generally having a good time.

The digs at Seattle throughout the campaign aren’t exactly subtle — “As commute times and the cost of business and housing go up in Seattle, the quality of life is going south,” — the website says — and Seattle’s mayor took notice.

Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a recent statement in which she called Seattle the city that “invents the future.”

“Seattle is home to the best companies because we have long been a leading global destination for high-skilled workers and thought leaders,” Durkan said. “While I hope Spokane continues to grow, there’s no greater city to live, work and enjoy than Seattle.”

Spokane’s mayor has been focusing on contacting alumni of the five universities that operate in the Spokane region — business decision makers between the ages of 25 to 40 —  in hopes they might move jobs to the city that pay between $60,000 and $125,000 a year.

The top industries he’s targeting include finance, health care and insurance as well as manufacturing.

Todd Mielke, head of Greater Spokane Inc., the region’s chamber of commerce, said they are seeing more inquiries from companies in the Seattle area, plus from Oregon, California and Colorado.

“Can they move a department – not the whole operation- but a department to Spokane?” Mielke said. “Companies are looking at that first.”

The $450,000 campaign started late last August and includes ads targeting about 550 small businesses and organizations, according to the Spokesman-Review.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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