As the city developed and homesteaders settled the area, the Spokane River became polluted, cover by bridges and railroad yards.In 1974, the river and much of downtown was reclaimed during Expo 74, the world's first environmentally-themed World's Fair.Shaped by its geography, Spokane's urban area is highly varied, due in large part to its location in a valley at the junction of the semi-arid scablands of the Columbia Plateau to the west, the rolling and fertile farmland of the Palouse to the south, and the Selkirk and Rocky Mountains to the north and east.
It is the second largest city in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest region and the largest in the Inland Northwest and Eastern Washington.
The city and its history is defined by the Spokane River, which flows directly through the city, cascading over a series of waterfalls in the heart of downtown.
For thousands of years before the arrival of European fur-traders and explorers in the area in the early 1800s, the river had been a gathering place and an abundant source of salmon for the Spokane and other tribal peoples.
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