"Expo had to overcome several major obstacles in attracting exhibitors. First there was the fact that even in the United States, many people hardly knew where Spokane was. Diane Bingham-Munger, one of the first fair employees, noted that the initial reaction of many companies was 'in Spokane -- are you kidding?!' It was difficult to persuade companies 'that they wanted to come here, to a place that they'd not heard of. I mean, it was hard.'"
"Paul Creighton, Expo's vice president for operations and maintenance, reckoned that the environmental theme cost the fair many potential exhibitors. In an interview conducted in 1975 he related: 'I'm all for the environment and ecology, but I'll tell you, never put a world's fair together with a controversial theme! The odds are too great that you're not going to make it. Not theme-wise -- everyone thinks the theme is great, but the problem is that theme doesn't sell commercial exhibits because it's controversial.'"
"Alex Sherwood, the tribal leader of the Spokanes, expressed skepticism about Expo's good will to the Indians. The fair was being held on lands once occupied by the Spokane tribe, he pointed out, but the Indians were hardly involved in its planning....He also noted that 'Spokane city itself is situated atop all Indian history from the past.' He observed that the past century had not improved the environment. The Spokane River, he said, 'used to abound with fish from the sea; Indians used to come to Spokane Falls from far and nearby places to get their winter supply of salmon, but now since Grand Coulee Dam was built, there is no more fish, and the pollution in the river -- I wouldn't even swim there now.'"