Writer addresses Falls Crossing

Letter to the Editor

This is an abbreviated version of a letter sent to the Snoqualmie

Planning Commision.

In response to your request for further public comment on the

proposed Falls Crossing development, I would like to bring a few of my concerns

to your attention. But first, let me qualify myself for these issues.

My professional career has been dominated by advocacy for good,

responsive design, both public and private. Positions I have held include

the Manager of the Pioneer Square Historic District, Seattle’s first City

Conservator and Director of the Office of Urban Conservation,

Washington State Historic Preservation Officer, first Washington State

Conservator, and Executive Director of the Washington State Advisory Council on

Historic Preservation. I have been a preservation and land use consultant

for over 20 years.

With this background and current interest, I have reviewed the

Falls Crossing proposal and find it wholly inadequate in the area of historical

and cultural resources. It is superficial, nonchalant and overall inaccurate.

Further, there is no mention of the “new information” regarding the

recent _ and overdue _ federal recognition of the Snoqualmie Tribe and

their new status within our community. The Tribe has consistently spoken of

the great significance this site has to the their cultural origins. This site is

their Jerusalem. Their Athens. Their Washington, D.C. Their beginning.

And now, by federal directive, we are required to recognize them and

respect their cultural sites. We must not take this lightly.

The proposal completely ignores these new happenings and, insult

to injury, addresses only the careful removal of artifacts uncovered

during construction. Shame on you, proponents. And shame on anyone

who thinks this is appropriate. This property is holy ground, connected to

an ancient culture that still maintains its identity and presence in our

community. The site needs to be professionally surveyed, test pits

dug, physiographically mapped, documented and then, as an

unmentioned “reasonable alternative,” purchased

for perpetual preservation. No development must be allowed to degrade

this land.

The responsible thing to do is to follow the city of Snoqualmie’s

earlier decision to acquire the Snoqualmie Point property, which reversed

the Comprehensive Plan designation from Economic Development to

Open Space. The city, in conjunction with other funding partners, should be

maneuvering to purchase this property which has equal national

viewshed characteristics to the Point property, but a profoundly greater element

of cultural significance and preservation.

Please do the right thing. Deny this application on the grounds that it

is inadequate and purposely avoids providing pertinent, pivotal

information and alternatives required by SEPA, federal and local legislation, to

say nothing of the lack of respect it exhibits for our native neighbor’s

cultural rights.

I look forward to your difficult decision that will put this

proposal where it belongs, on the shelf.

Art Skolnik