Snoqualmie residents, Facebook group aim to muffle casino concerts

A group of Snoqualmie residents are making noise in an effort to muffle Snoqualmie Casino's outdoor concert series.

Complaining that outside shows generate "extreme noise," several residents started a Facebook page called "Stop the Snoqualmie Casino Outdoor Concert Noise." Members handed out flyers in Snoqualmie, and a dozen brought concerns to the Snoqualmie City Council at its Monday, July 12, meeting.

"Last Thursday was the kicker for me," said Indian Hill resident Jason Weatherholtz, a poster on the Facebook page. Bass sounds from that evening's concert, he said, rattled pictures and windows at his home three miles across the Valley from the casino stage.

Saying the tribe's sovereignty shouldn't carry over onto other people's property, Weatherholtz filed a complaint with Congressman Dave Reichert's office.

More than the outlying areas of Snoqualmie are affected, said downtown resident John Whitney, who spoke Monday. He compared the sound of the concerts to exploding fireworks.

"Every single concert that goes on is like the Fourth of July," Whitney said. "It's not just an inconvenience. I feel like it's a pollution issue.

"We only have a couple good months we can spend outside," he added. "It's really affecting our way of life."

Indian Hill resident Kit McCormick asked the council "to continue this fight."

"We don't have anyone else to represent us," she said. "The people who are affected by the casino are the people you represent. You are stronger than we are."

Councilman Jeff MacNichols told residents to take their grievances to the street.

"Use the power of your first amendment rights," he said. "Protest, picket, do what you feel is necessary."

Following the meeting, members of the group planned to protest at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at the casino, during its Yes and Peter Frampton concert.

Already committed

Responding to the complaints, Snoqualmie Tribe officials said the casino voluntarily complies with the city of Snoqualmie's noise abatement ordinance. All outdoor shows end by 10 p.m. and decibel levels are monitored.

"We feel that we have gone a long way toward being a good neighbor," said Snoqualmie Tribe Administrator Matt Mattson.

The summer concert series drives business to the casino, helping enhance tribal programs and the local economy, he said.

While the tribe is considering changing the arrangement of the concert and layout of speakers, Mattson said that major changes to the series aren't likely this season.

"We're willing to engage in a conversation to mitigate," he said. "At some point, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

"We've made commitments," he said. "Canceling the entire series is something that the tribe is not willing to consider. We think that's unreasonable."

Twenty-one shows remain in the casino's 2010 summer schedule.

The city released a statement last week saying that it forwarded concerns to the tribe, but is not in a legal position to monitor or prevent the concert series. The city asked that complaints about Snoqualmie Casino concerts be directed to the Snoqualmie Tribe or the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Snoqualmie holds concerts of its own at venues including Centennial Park. Last year, a U.S. Air Force band played at Snoqualmie Point Park, overlooking the Valley.

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