Growing Spokane, Washington, sheds its sleepy city image

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spokane, Washington, has long been in Seattle' shadow. But now the Lilac City is luring more jobs and has a hot real estate market, a fast-growing population and a rising arts and entertainment sector.

The state's second-largest city has for decades been known as a sleepy place with cheap housing and slow growth. But the economic recovery has reached this community of 217,000 people near the Washington-Idaho border.

Many new residents are seeking cheaper housing, easier commutes, good schools and a work-life balance. That's according to business recruiter Todd Mielke, who says Spokane has those in abundance.

In addition to young families, the Spokane region is drawing lots of retirees who bring disposable income.