October 3, 2008 · Updated 1:38 AM
As is the case with many major developments, the rumor mill is alive and well and is often perpetuated by uninformed citizens who have a strong opinion on the subject.
The latest rumor to hit the streets is that of the Snoqualmie Tribe's desire
to purchase the Falls Crossing property and turn it into a gaming facility.
It's a great rumor perpetuated by proponents of Puget Western's plans
for Falls Crossing, but according to Tribal Chair Joseph Mullens, it is totally
untrue. In fact, the Tribe has gone so far as to remind both Puget Western and
the city that the grounds proposed for Falls Crossing are as sacred to them as
Our Lady of Sorrows is to the Catholic church. It is their sanctuary, the
origination of many tribes in Washington, and likely contains key tribal burial grounds
as does much of the Valley.
So who do we believe in this case and who is telling the truth? Good
question. My gut tells me the Tribe wants the land protected in its natural state
and Puget Western wants to turn a profit. What better way to create a sense
of urgency as a proponent of Falls Crossing than to start the rumor of gaming.
Now there is the possibility that the Tribe does buy the property, and
once purchased, may decide differently than their apparent intentions. Many of
the land-use regulations, building codes, and other development standards
may not apply once it becomes tribal land. But it has been said on the record
by Mullens that gaming is not planned for the property.
So who are you going to believe and who has the most vested interest in
the hallowed ground near Snoqualmie Falls?
In other developments
Last week a commission for King County voted to approve the Master
Plan for the Three Forks area. Several concerned residents testified about their
concerns for formal development including increased traffic, increased use,
etc. The property, which is pristine in many ways, will likely see increased
use simply due to population growth. Is it right to create a master plan for
the property? Well, public funds were used to purchase the property so one
would expect that it would be open to use by everyone. Therefore, controlled
intrusion is likely better than the uncontrolled intrusion that is going to
happen anyway, right?
But does the plan address all the concerns of local citizens? The answer
is no. But do not fear. The council still has time to listen to concerns and
our representative, David Irons Jr., can still take the initiative to raise specific
concerns about the plan and propose some changes.