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Spokane’s world’s fair, Expo ’74, was a huge success thanks to the guidance of Seattle leaders. The city council implemented a controversial business and occupation tax that raised $5.7 million to remove railroad tracks and prepare the fair site. In October 1971, President Richard M. Nixon officially endorsed the event, and Spokane received unanimous approval from the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris as an official “special exposition.”

The Washington State Pavilion, which later became the Spokane Opera House and Convention Center, was constructed with nearly $12 million in state tax dollars. Washington’s influential Congressional delegation secured an additional $11.5 million appropriation to construct the U.S. Pavilion at Expo ’74.

Spokane’s three railroads donated 17 acres of land to the city in exchange for relocating their routes away from downtown, worth many millions of dollars. This move allowed them to consolidate their routes and paved the way for Expo ’74’s success.

King Cole focused on attracting countries to participate in the fair and managed to secure commitments from numerous nations, including the Soviet Union, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, Australia, Iran, West Germany, and the Philippines. Corporate pavilions were also lured with companies like Ford, General Motors, General Electric

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