Identity Crisis?

Has it ever struck you how our area lacks a singular identity? The mailing address is “Nine Mile Falls” but the main population area is called “Suncrest”, a name left over from the original trailer park of 50 years ago. Old-timers call the river “Long Lake” but the state calls it “Lake Spokane.” And then the middle school and high school, like nothing else whatsoever, are named “Lakeside.” Why not Baskin-Robbins? They have 31 flavors, too.

This lack of unity in the names can be confusing. It can even be considered a collective “identity crisis” — the “failure to achieve ego identity during adolescence”, as psychologist Erik Erikson would put it.

When the Spokane newspaper talks about our school, whose district borders the city, they have to use parentheses so readers know what state it is in: “Lakeside (WA)”, like it’s a hundred miles away. People in Reardan, Kettle Falls, Deer Park, Davenport, Freeman — they don’t have this identity problem.

Until our area commits to a single name for common identity — attaining “identity achievement” as Erikson would say — it will continue to suffer its identity crisis.

Today, in our time, that choice is clearly “Lake Spokane.” It is already the name the state has assigned to the Urban Growth Area the majority of residents live in, and it is the name the state has given to the Spokane River from the dam to Tum Tum; a lake that is the dominant natural feature of the area we live and play and go to school in. It also suggests where to look for us on a map — somewhere near “Spokane.”

When we get around to building a new high school, one that isn’t shaped like a duck, we could think about calling it “Lake Spokane High School”, too. Saves the question, “Where’s Nine Mile Falls?”

Changing the name of the 99026 post office, and thus the name of our “city/town”, to Lake Spokane is but a swap of a few metal letters, and then all of us simply using the name and telling others to do the same. Names of post offices are based on “most commonly recognized usage” and can change over time by that usage. Lake Spokane needs to become that most common usage.

No disrespect to Nine Mile Falls. It is quaint. Historic. It is home to a gas station and the name of a dam. It is a mile marker on the way to Lake Spokane. Oh, and the title of a web blog.

But Lake Spokane — that is our dominant feature. It is where we live and who we are. It is our identity. Lake Spokane, Washington 99026.

Let’s be proud of that. Let’s solve the crisis.

One thought on “Identity Crisis?

  1. There is no crisis here. Anyone who lives in the Spokane area knows where Nine Mile Falls is, it has been here for 108 years now. Long before Suncrest existed, and long before the state, in all its wisdom, renamed Long Lake without input from the local residents. Why erase a historic community by renaming it with the most recent title that none of the residents even use? The author of this article doesn’t sound confused as to where Nine Mile Falls is, as they articulate the various ares of the region well. The federal government also recognizes the area as Nine Mile Falls, thus the Post Office designation. Federal trumps State. Why create confusion where none exists?

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