Boise Weekly's Top 15 Stories of 2015 

The year in who, what, when, where, why and how

The Cooper Court homeless camp near the I-184 Connector was one of the biggest of the big stories in 2015.

Patrick Sweeney

The Cooper Court homeless camp near the I-184 Connector was one of the biggest of the big stories in 2015.

We all know the Chinese phrase "may you live in interesting times" is meant to be a curse, the idea being that no news is good news.

Of course, we don't really see it that way in the news business, and 2015 was a newsy S.O.B.

As we do every year, Boise Weekly takes a stroll down memory lane to highlight some of the stories we thought were most important—whether that means they had the most impact, were the most interesting, most fun to read or report, or signify something we're sure we'll be spending 2016 exploring.

We hope your 2015 was interesting in the best way(s) possible.

click to enlarge JUMP rises west of BoDo. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • JUMP rises west of BoDo.

Jan. 1: City Under Construction: Boise's Building Boom

It's hard to keep track of how many construction projects are ongoing in downtown Boise. There are the obvious ones: the City Center Plaza on the Grove; JUMP rising up west of BoDo; the pair of hotels planned for Capitol Boulevard; and the other two hotels being built on the parcel of land bounded by 13th, Front, 11th and Myrtle streets. There are also plenty of projects that are only now getting started, such as the remaking of the Central Addition neighborhood—which will be home to mixed-use commercial and residential developments—and a live/work apartment building on the site of the Watercooler. Don't forget to wear your hardhat in 2016.

click to enlarge TREEFORT MUSIC FEST
  • Treefort Music Fest

March 25: Treefort Comes of Age

Treefort Music Fest's road to success has been steep. Titanically popular among locals from the start, the festival grew quickly from featuring 137 bands in 2012 to 430 bands in 2015—the year the festival broke even financially and attained nonprofit B status. Every year, Treefort bumps up the number of forts as well as the number of ticket holders hailing from somewhere other than Boise, and Hackfort even got a nod from President Barack Obama during his visit to the City of Trees in January (also a big story). By every metric, Treefort has come into its own.



click to enlarge The property CWI is purchasing near the Boise River. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The property CWI is purchasing near the Boise River.

April 24: College of Western Idaho Buys Waterfront Property

In April, the College of Western Idaho announced it had entered into a purchase agreement to buy 10 acres of land along the Boise River. The community college said the land would be the perfect site for its Boise campus, but the public was shocked to learn the college would pay $8.8 million for a parcel assessed at $3.6 million without having conducted its own assessment first. CWI rode out the storm until July, when an independent appraisal of the land pegged its value at $8.9 million, vindicating CWI.

click to enlarge What's old is new again. - KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes
  • What's old is new again.

June 10:Olympic Venue Gets Gold-Star Makeover

On a warm day in June, the midday sun shone through spotless new windows and bounced off high-polished wooden tables in a space where old broken glass and bird guano once covered the floor. The Olympic was ready for its grand opening.

When Alicia Wagner bought Mulligan's Pub and the long dormant Olympic Hotel above the popular downtown spot, she thought about turning the Olympic into a bar/eatery, but she said she "didn't want to detract from Mulligan's," instead turning it into a special-events center. She made sure the Olympic would retain some of its old charm by using reclaimed timber to build tables and supports and having local neon artist Wil Kirkman restore the original Olympic Hotel sign.

click to enlarge The Boise Co-op rebounded nicely from this nasty bug. - ROCKY MOUNTAIN LABS-NIH
  • Rocky Mountain Labs-NIH
  • The Boise Co-op rebounded nicely from this nasty bug.

June 13: The Boise Co-op Recovers from Illness

Several months ahead of the much-anticipated opening of Boise Co-op's second location at the Village at Meridian, people started getting sick. Ultimately, almost 300 people fell ill from deli items contaminated with salmonella—it was one of the largest foodborne illness outbreaks in Idaho history. Even amid the outbreak, many loyal customers rushed to the North End grocer's defense. What's more, the Co-op's huge Meridian location opened on schedule, bringing farm-fresh food closer to customers in the center of the Treasure Valley and ending a 2015 on a positive note.

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