I consider myself a Fall City boy from way back. I spent many years there, living on the Boeing farm and later downtown. I attended Fall City Elementary, having notable teachers like Mrs. Bonnell and Mr. Wright. I consider Fall City a part of me; the town helped shape who I am.
When I heard that I missed the “red neck reunion” last week at a hearing held by King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert on the potential transfer of the Fall City Park property to the Snoqualmie Tribe, I was bummed. But my phone had enough calls from those who attended the hearing to know some residents in Fall City stepped back in time and instigated new concerns over racism.
First, shame on Kathy Lambert for not having the fortitude to squelch speakers who had no interest in the betterment of the park, but rather wanted to demonstrate their disdain for the Tribe, or the county. It was obvious from conversations I’ve had with some of those who attended, as well as our reporter’s account, that people seemed more interested in throwing rocks at the county and taking their anger out on tribal representatives.
Parks have long been an afterthought by the county here in Snoqualmie Valley. Si View is a perfect example of the county washing its hands of the facility and forcing a local group to find a way to save it.
Now the county wants to wash its hands of the park in Fall City and, here again, a local organization has stepped forward to keep it open. Tell me the problem with that scenario? Have opponents really read the contract and asked fact-based questions, or is this just another spitting match to see who can hate the county, or the Tribe, more?
I have said before and will say again that the Snoqualmie Tribe will do a much better job of maintaining and operating the park then the county has ever done. The Tribe has a true appreciation for the land, in my opinion, and its members’ values include an appreciation for family activities, such as those using active recreational facilities. The transfer, with the safeguards outlined in the agreement, is a good thing.
But what about other organizations that may be interested in taking over the facilities? I think it’s only fair that those organizations put their money where their mouths are. Secure a bond from any private organization interested in taking over the facility and then create a similar agreement, holding fees at the same levels and maintaining existing service levels. Once those organizations come up with the funding and maintenance plans, hold some kind of election. But time is of the essence, so give them 30 days to come up with the funding and maintenance plans.
This isn’t a new idea. The county and Tribe first brought the idea to light nearly three years ago. At that time I was supportive and I am supportive now. The Tribe is a partner in the community, as much as any other organization or group. Let’s not give the Tribe, a sovereign nation, less respect than we would give to Little League baseball, the local youth soccer association or the Snoqualmie Valley Riding Club.