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Not so fast with praise
I won't be sharing the gushing praise for Weyerhaeuser's involvement in "the deal to save the falls" Snoqualmie Preserve Initiative plan. I have enormous admiration for the mayor, city of Snoqualmie and the hard working planning commission. But praising a company for shrewd strategy is a mistake.
For its part in the purchase of the area, Weyerhaeuser will have the opportunity to build 280 new homes at the Snoqualmie Ridge development over its original 2,000 home limit for Phase I. It will gain a 700-acre extension of its urban growth area for Phase II. The company will be retaining timber-harvesting rights for the "preservation" area. This plan has several "opt out" opportunities for Weyerhaeuser, leaving King County with the bill. A real win-win situation for Weyerhaeuser. It's a business deal and fostering warm and fuzzy public relations at the same time is all a part of the game.
In my community, Weyerhaeuser allows Glacier Northwest, a Japanese-owned cement conglomerate, to operate a 300-acre gravel mine within several hundred feet of homes. A hard rock mining operation, blasting three times a week, in the vicinity of Tokul Creek and the King County Regional Trail, located over several aquifers, and adjacent to the Ridge community's municipal water supply, is planned soon. In North Bend, the community living at Exit 34 is involved in a battle with the big W as it plans another mega mining operation next to homes, and a 24-hour cement plant in a school zone. And this project has a viable alternative for location! In both cases, the citizens lose because we have nothing to "trade" with Weyerhaeuser.
Any misconceptions about who really gains from Weyerhaeuser's land "swaps" can be clarified by looking into some of the "Mountains to Sound Greenway" deals. Check out the makeup of that "green" organization's board.
It's not about pileated woodpeckers, the Snoqualmie tribe's sanctity of the area of the huge tourism revenue that the Falls brings to our city. It's just another "deal". There are multibillion dollar companies that act for people and the environment for the sake of doing what's right and what's good. In my opinion, (and experience) Weyerhaeuser is NOT one of them.