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Cities, Tribe see connected future
The top officials of the Snoqualmie Tribe and cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie see their interests and benefits intermingling in the years to come.
Snoqualmie Mayor Matthew Larson, North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing and Snoqualmie Tribe Administrator Matthew Mattson met and shared their visions of the Valley’s future with the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, at a lunch meeting last Friday, March 20.
The tribe’s casino caused some rifts with North Bend, and it took three years to negotiate a contract for sewer and fire services between the tribe and the city of Snoqualmie. Since then, the three entities have built working relationships, the executives said.
The tribe and residents of Fall City also differed over ownership of Fall City Park. The Tribe offered to take over the park from King County, but Fall City voters took control of it in February.
The impact from the casino has been significantly smaller than had been expected, both mayors said.
Resources from the casino will be used to mitigate its impact, which will be overseen by a committee with representatives from the state, county, tribe and the city of Snoqualmie.
Snoqualmie provides fire, sewer and human services to the casino. Mitigation money could be put toward a new community center, Larson said.
Several Valley resources are located in North Bend, such as Encompass and the Helping Hand Food Bank, he said.
“We feel that some of those resources that are coming from the casino and the tribe will be allocated” to North Bend and groups providing Valley-wide services.
“Without being represented at the table, we will get our mitigation funds,” said Hearing.
North Bend was the only local government to oppose the tribe’s application for the casino. Hearing has since established a good working relationship with the tribe.
There has been no rise in drunk driving rates and “zero impact” on traffic in the city since the casino opened, he said.
“We want to be good neighbors, and we want to be an asset to this community,” Mattson said.