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
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...