Pacific West Rail Model Train Museum Project Receives Opposition from Snoqualmie Tribal Council

The Snoqualmie City Council will convene for a special hybrid meeting on Monday, July 31, 2023, to discuss the potential development project of the Pacific West Rail Model Train Museum at the corner of Railroad Ave/SR 202 and Snoqualmie Parkway.

However, the proposed project has faced opposition from the Snoqualmie Tribal Council, with concerns over the cultural sensitivity of the site. You can read the Tribe’s full letter to the City here.

The proposed museum project would be located on City-owned property often referred to as Gateway Park. The project includes constructing a 20,000 sq. ft. museum building to house the Pacific West Rail model railroad, one of the largest and most detailed 0-Scale model railroads in the United States.

The project would permanently house the model railroad, along with community event space, a gift shop, and other interactive features. The plans also include a park and other improvements to the City property. 

Model train collection owner Peter Hambling first presented this vision to the City Council in September 2022. The City approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mr. Hambling, who further developed the proposed park and museum concept. The MOU also required the preparation of a development agreement and lease agreement.

However, in a letter addressed to Mayor Ross, Snoqualmie Tribal Council Chairman Robert M. de los Angeles, expressed the Tribe’s concerns and opposition to this project due to its proximity to culturally sensitive areas, including the protected property known as Two Sisters Return. 145 acres of land near Snoqualmie Falls set aside for the tribe by the City of Snoqualmie. 

The Tribal Council objects to not being consulted about the apparent decision to lease the land and is demanding an immediate update on the project, consultation, and a halt to any action facilitating the project until a government-to-government meeting can take place.

Historically the Tribal Council has been opposed to the Tokul Roundabout, Salish Expansion and Mill Site Development.

While the public is invited to attend the July 31 City Council special meeting, there won’t be a public comment period to allow Councilmembers ample time for questions.

Comments can be submitted to the Council via email at CouncilMembers@snoqualmiewa.gov or to the City Clerk at cityclerk@snoqualmiewa.gov.

Mailed comments may be sent to City Clerk, PO Box 987, Snoqualmie, WA 98065. Comments must be received by 5 pm on July 31. 

More discussions about the project and associated development and lease agreements are expected during the August City Council meeting.

For more information about the Pacific West Rail model railroad, visit https://www.pacificwestrail.org/.

Conceptual images of the proposed Pacific West Rail Museum. **Please note: These are conceptual images, NOT final designs.**

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