Tag Archives: Port Gamble

A glimpse at the effort

Chris Dunagan’s story about the Legislature’s help with cutting the cost of the purchase of 7,000 acres in North Kitsap has behind it a tremendous lobbying effort taken on by legislators and citizens just to get the bill heard in the state Senate.

Those involved shared e-mails. Someone shared with us the exchanges of e-mails and I’ve done the work to pretty much show them to you in the order they happened. I took out the names of the 67 people who were CC’d on the e-mails, in large part because we would love to continue receiving e-mails like this in the future if someone finds a string that illustrates a story like this. I found out a couple of years ago that legislator e-mails are not public record. There are local officials in the mix here, so all these e-mails would be public record, if you’re interested in doing a record request through the county or city of Poulsbo.

We’re including the e-mails to tell a story of what was happening behind the scenes, the events illustrated in the following part of Dunagan’s story:

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said the bill got hung up because it appeared to affect only a small group. But, with the clock winding down, lobbyists from timber companies, environmental groups and local governments joined together, along with many local supporters. They pushed Senate leaders to move the bill to a vote, which was unanimous in the Senate after only one dissenting vote in the House.

“It took teamwork,” Rolfes said, “but it was very easy to say that everyone wants this.”

Jon Rose, who is spearheading the land deal for Pope Resources, said the legislation shows how people can make things happen when they need to.

“This was one of the best examples of a diverse group of Kitsap County residents coming together for a positive result,” he said, “and I would like to see more of it.”

The evidence follows.

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S’Klallam Scaling Back Plans For Casino Expansion

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Chairman Jeromy Sullivan hears it all the time.
“I get asked on a weekly basis,” he said.
What’s on peoples’ minds? The Point Casino. More specifically, the tribe’s plans for casino expansion.
The plan that people remember was a big one. A huge casino expansion, with a hotel, business park, retail and housing. That was in 2007, and the world – along with leadership of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe – has changed a lot.
“I thought it was pretty aggressive to put something like that out there,” said Sullivan, the 36-year-old chairman elected in July. Sullivan and other tribal leaders and staff members met with the Kitsap Sun Friday afternoon.
As recent as two years ago, the tribe was pursuing looking at 100,000 square feet of gaming, retail, restaurants, meeting space and bars, with 400 additional slots and adding 200 more employees. A hotel was seen as a second phase.
But in recent years, there’s been some movement in top leadership positions at the tribe, and the economy is much different now.
“The ideas have changed,” Sullivan said. “The thought processes have changed.”
Given today’s economic reality, the tribe is now looking at more modest changes to The Point Casino, starting with a remodel.
The tribe’s Chief Executive Officer, Marjorie Zarate, said they’re currently doing marketing studies to see how their casino, which provides the bulk of the revenue the tribe uses to fund its programs, can differentiate itself.
A face lift for the current casino, built in the mid-90s as a bingo hall, new signs and upgraded dining and beverage areas are in the cards.
“It’s going to be aggressive,” she said of the project timing. But it’s a far cry from the previous plans. Exact plans and timing aren’t yet determined.
While the casino plans are likely what most of the public is interested in, Sullivan took some time to explain the tribe’s position on a critically important issue for itself – Port Gamble Bay.
There wasn’t much new, but Sullivan stressed that he hopes the tribe is included early as their across-the-bay neighbors, Olympic Property Group and its town site at Port Gamble, begin planning for more development.
“Even if we don’t agree on things, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about them,” he said.
As issue is the status of the tribe’s generations-long practice, and treaty rights, to harvest fish and shellfish from the bay. There’s also a cleanup effort underway, with OPG and the Department of Natural Resources on the hook, so to speak. For 142 years a sawmill occupied land across the bay that was the original home for the Port Gamble S’Klallam. The mill closed in 1995.
As OPG works on plans for more development, the tribe worries that it could threaten the ability of its members to harvest seafood from the bay.
The dispute already strained relations between the entities when the tribe opposed an OPG plan for a dock in Port Gamble Bay, worrying that the boats and their effluent would result in shellfish bed closures.
From Sullivan’s perspective, there needs to be conversation, and he has to work to protect his tribal member’s rights to shellfishing, and the health of the bay.
“Something that could directly affect the tribe, we’ve got to discuss it,” he said.

– Derek Sheppard