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Bart Preecs helped start, later delivered The Fig Tree

Bart Preecs was recognized at Gala


For several years, the late Bart Preecs was business reporter for The Spokesman-Review until it merged newsrooms with The Daily Chronicle. Then he covered higher education and religion about the time The Fig Tree was starting.

He served on the early steering committee for The Fig Tree, until he moved to Richland.

His parents, Bert and Martha Preecs continued to help support The Fig Tree with mailings and deliveries.

When Bart retired and returned to Spokane in 2020, he was impressed that The Fig Tree was still publishing.

"The Fig Tree provides a forum to give voice and visibility for activities in the community, city, valley and beyond. What people do would not be visible to the community if it weren't for The Fig Tree," he said.

"It changes our mental picture of what our community is like if we know there are churches opening their doors for warming shelters or joining in pride festivals. We start thinking in broader terms. It's critical for the community's self-understanding or self-awareness if we know that there are people out there doing things," Bart added.

Aware of how challenging it is to publish a newspaper, he considers The Fig Tree's 40 years a monument to persistence.

Bart said that stories informing people about what is happening gives people courage to do things they might not otherwise do.

"If we think we live in isolation and don't understand what is going on, we may feel powerless or think that nothing we can do will change the situation," he said. "We might assume there will always be homeless people downtown and look the other way. If we hear of people doing things, we may ask, 'What can I do?' Then we may realize we can donate some clothes, drop a check in the mail and make a difference. 

"Being able to make a difference makes people feel powerful," said Bart, who, until his death in May, traveled each month around the neighborhood where he grew up to help deliver The Fig Tree.

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, May 2024