Tribe slowed down on road to showbiz

 

Many Indian tribes are land rich and cash poor. Not the Muckleshoots. The 1,500-member tribe lives on a tiny 3,500-acre reservation between Seattle and Mount Rainier, and last year, its casino and bingo hall brought in an estimated $48 million.

For more than seven years, the tribe has been working on another moneymaker: the White River Amphitheater, with seating for more than 20,000 at up to 70 annual shows. Some nearby residents of King County would like to stop the development. Calling themselves Citizens for Safety & Environment, the group of several hundred is concerned about noise from concerts and the effect increased traffic might have on farming in one of the last agricultural districts in King County.

The last six to eight miles leading to the amphitheater are a two-lane agricultural road, says Janet Devlin, co-chair of the group, and because the area is part of the county's 20-year-old Farmland Preservation Act, the road can't be expanded.

The citizens met with little success until they sued the Bureau of Indian Affairs for an environmental impact statement, and won. In April 1998, a U.S. district judge directed the federal agency to prepare an EIS. At that point, the amphitheater was about 40 percent complete. It still is.

In August, the citizens' group got its draft EIS, and hired a consultant to critique the tribe's traffic management plan. The consultant has estimated that emptying the parking lot after a 15,000-person concert would take more than three hours. A sold-out concert would take even longer, Devlin says.

"That's not a fair estimate," says tribal lawyer Rob Otsea, and doesn't make business sense, besides. "If you know it's going to take three hours to exit a parking lot, you wouldn't go."

Otsea says they can keep other negative impacts cited in the draft EIS - such as possible runoff, erosion and subsequent damage to fish habitat - to tolerable levels as well. If state and federal officials agree, construction of the amphitheater could resume next spring, and the first concert could take place as soon as the spring of 2001.

Even if that happens, Devlin maintains the project is doomed to failure: "Opening an open-air amphitheater in western Washington is like investing in a tanning salon in Florida. We had two weeks of summer this year, and some summers don't get above 68 degrees. We've always maintained that if they were to be successful and complete the project, that it will fail on its own."

* Karen Mockler, HCN intern

You can contact ...

* Citizens for Safety & Environment at 360/825-2766;

* White River Amphitheater/ Muckleshoot Tribe, 253/939-3311.

High Country News Classifieds
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Native plant seeds for the Western US. Trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and regional mixes. Call or email for free price list. 719-942-3935. [email protected] or visit...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action is seeking two full time community organizers to join our team. Positions can be based in Garfield County, Montrose...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Join our team as the Association's Executive Director. Working closely with the Board of Directors, take ANWS to the next level of professionalism by managing...
  • FRIENDS OF CEDAR MESA DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Friends of Cedar Mesa is hiring a Development Director who will have the overall responsibilities of leading our fundraising programs and reports directly to our...
  • WATER RIGHTS/ADJUDICATION BUREAU CHIEF
    Job Overview: Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that Montana's land and water resources provide benefits for present and future...
  • CLIMATE CHANGE COORDINATOR
    The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is seeking a Climate Change Coordinator to play a lead role in shaping our programs to make the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Executive Director Position Announcement POSITION TITLE: Executive Director ORGANIZATION: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument REPORTING TO: Board of Directors EMPLOYMENT TYPE: Part-time - Full-time, based...
  • HEALTHY CITIES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Healthy Cities Program Director leads and manages the Healthy Cities Program for the Arizona Chapter and is responsible for developing and implementing innovative, high...
  • CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Conservation Programs Manager Job Opening Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Associate Director Job Posting Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through science,...
  • UNIQUE, ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME ON ACREAGE NEAR MOSCOW, IDAHO
    Custom-built energy-efficient 3000 sqft two-story 3BR home, 900 sqft 1 BR accessory cottage above 2-car garage and large shop. Large horse barn. $1,200,000. See online...
  • OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) - established and profitable outdoor adventure & education business in Missoula, Montana. Summer camp, raft & climb guide, teen travel,...
  • OJO SARCO FARM/HOME
    A wonderful country setting for a farm/work 1350s.f. frame home plus 1000 studio/workshop. 5 acres w fruit trees, an irrigation well, pasture and a small...
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...