Baumgartner seeks to name North-South Freeway after war hero Grashio, Speaker Foley

A bill filed by Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, today in the Senate would name the North-South Freeway in Spokane County after two local heroes, Samuel Grashio and Tom Foley. Highway 395 from Spokane to Ritzville would be named for World War II hero Grashio and from Ritzville to Pasco for former Speaker of the House Tom Foley.

“These are two local legends who mean a lot to the community and stand for the values of Eastern Washington,” said Baumgartner. “Both of these Spokane natives served their country in peacetime and war. Let’s commemorate their service by proudly naming this backbone of our region for these men that represented the best of our community.”

Samuel Grashio is a native of Spokane who served in the United States Army Air Forces from 1940 to 1965, fighting in the Battle of Bataan, surviving the Bataan Death March, successfully escaping a Japanese prison camp and earning the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star during his service. He returned to serve at Gonzaga University.

Speaker of the House Tom Foley represented Washington’s Fifth Congressional District for 30 years, achieving the role of Speaker and delivering over $289 million for the North-South freeway. He went on to serve as United States Ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001.

“It is an incredible opportunity that we can choose a veteran of war with Japan and an ambassador in peacetime to Japan as the names representing this crucial road,” said Baumgartner. “It is an honor to have these two men representing the best of Spokane across the world.”

Baumgartner’s bill submits the two names to the Washington State Transportation Commission for approval as the choice of the Legislature for the names ascribed to the sections of the highway.