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KCAC gains insight to tribal plans

LITTLE BOSTON — A change in venue for the monthly Kingston Citizen’s Advisory Council meeting Dec. 5 yielded not only new surroundings — in the form of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Longhouse — but also fresh information for a partnership between the community group and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

Tribal Chief Executive Officer Doug Quade presented both background and information about how the tribe is working to expand its economic and cultural horizons, and how the two organizations can work together to form a symbiotic relationship. KCAC members were enthusiastic about the opportunity to build a bridge with the tribe, and asked about the different projects planned for Little Boston.

“I’m hoping this can be more a conversation than a presentation,” Quade said. “There have been some concerns and misconceptions floating around, and I’d like to provide information to clarify those this evening.”

He gave background on the tribe, touching on population statistics, information on its land holdings, employment within the tribe and economic and financial information, including how the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe contributes money back into Kitsap County. Quade also addressed the plan to build a new Point Casino building, including a hotel and a retail center for businesses and shops. The hotel and casino complex will be nearly 100,000 square feet, with 90 rooms, putting the hotel at about the same size as the 82-room Clearwater Casino and Resort in Suquamish, he said.

“I’m concerned we need traffic calming,” said KCAC member Walt Elliott. “It seems like there’s a high speed volume, which makes it dangerous for turning. It seems like a problem.”

Quade said the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe is working with Kitsap County officials to split the costs of road improvements, including turn lanes for the casino and retail space. The speed limit was lowered from 55 to 45 mph this past fall, making it a little more safe, he added.

Another topic discussed by Quade was the fact the tribe is working green and environmentally-friendly solutions to power both the tribe and provide to local organizations.

“You mentioned fuel cells, but what other types of energy are you looking at?” asked KCAC member Besty Cooper.

Quade said the tribe has been working on wind farms with the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, as well as a pyrolizer project in New York where used tires are being converted into oil.

“There’s about a gallon of oil in one ton of tires,” he said. “How man tons of tires do we have in this country? There’s got to be hundreds of millions just sitting in junkyards.”

KCAC member and North Kitsap School District Supt. Gene Medina said the presentation was extremely helpful in creating a bond between the tribe and the council.

He also suggested the KCAC examine the possibility of attending a Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Council meeting to promote a similar discussion between tribal leaders and the advisory council.

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