Salish Lodge sold to Snoqualmie Tribe, Salish Expansion not moving forward

In mid August we got wind of a possible Salish Lodge sale to the Snoqualmie Tribe, but when we inquired we were told it was a rumor. Well, it appears that the sale is in fact, not myth.

In a press release dated November 1st, 2019 it was announced the Salish Lodge & Spa, as well as the land surrounding Snoqualmie Falls for a hotel expansion, was sold to the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe.

The Snoqualmie and Muckleshoot Indian Tribes announced a historic agreement to transfer ownership of the Salish Lodge & Spa, as well as the land surrounding Snoqualmie Falls, to the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe. The total purchase encompasses approximately 45 acres of land in the Snoqualmie Tribe’s traditional territory. The purchase price was $125 million.

The Muckleshoot Tribe acquired the Lodge in 2007 for approximately $62 million to build and diversify the tribe’s economy. Since that acquisition the Muckleshoot Tribe said it has “invested to preserve and enhance the property, maintaining its status as one of the top-ranked resorts in the country. “

The purchase includes the property north of and across State Route 202, as well as the Salish Lodge & Spa, and the Snoqualmie Falls Gift Shop. The Snoqualmie Tribe said it will continue to operate the Lodge with current management company Columbia Hospitality. A planned development – a hotel expansion, convention center and 175 homes – approved by the City of Snoqualmie last October will no longer advance, according to Snoqualmie Tribal officials.

The agreement comes after discussions and negotiations between the two sovereign tribal governments and represents a unique situation in which the Muckleshoot Tribe has supported the restoration of sacred and culturally significant land to the Snoqualmie people.

Snoqualmie Falls and the surrounding area is the most important sacred site to the Snoqualmie Tribe and is central to the history, spiritual practice, and identity of the Snoqualmie people. Its preservation is of the highest importance to the Tribe.

“This purchase represents the Snoqualmie Tribe’s ongoing work to reclaim its traditional lands and will allow the Snoqualmie people to appropriately care for our sacred Falls and share it with all who wish to experience the powerful connection,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman, Robert de los Angeles. “We are incredibly grateful to the Muckleshoot Tribe for their willingness to partner in our goal of protecting and preserving this sacred area.”

Muckleshoot Tribal Chairman, Jaison Elkins added, “It is a great feeling when Tribes can come together to further enhance both of their organizations. Salish Lodge is a premier resort in the Pacific Northwest. Knowing that its ownership will remain local with our neighbor Tribe is a positive for the region and all Indian Country. This sale is a prime example of Indian Self Determination and how Tribal nations can conduct business in a culturally sensitive way. The Muckleshoot Tribe plans to focus on new facilities and services for our tribal members and customers.”

The transaction was finalized on Thursday, October 31st, with the Snoqualmie Tribe becoming the legal owner of Salish Lodge and the surrounding land.

The Snoqualmie Tribe is celebrating the historic achievement in conjunction with its 20th anniversary of federal re-recognition which occurred on October 6th, 1999 after decades of petitioning.

Columbia Hospitality will continue to operate the Lodge.

“Salish Lodge is one of the most iconic and beloved destinations the Northwest, and we are honored to continue building on its legacy with the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe,” said John Oppenheimer, CEO and founder of Columbia Hospitality, which has managed Salish Lodge since 2007.

“The thoughtful and impassioned service that our team members provide day-in and day-out will continue to be a pillar of the Salish experience, and we look forward to partnering with the Snoqualmie Tribe to find even more ways to connect our guests to the surrounding area and heritage.”

“Snoqualmie Falls is a sacred place and a globally beloved landmark, and the Salish Lodge is an iconic Northwest institution,” said Chairman de los Angeles. “We look forward to enriching the experience for Lodge guests by sharing the Tribe’s story, meaning, and history of the Falls and the Snoqualmie people who have cared for it since time immemorial.”

In a statement released Friday evening, Mayor Matt Larson said:

“Congratulations to the Snoqualmie Tribe on realizing a decade’s-long dream to reacquire this land around their sacred Snoqualmie Falls.This not only serves as a moment to create healing and reconciliation with their brothers and sisters in the Muckleshoot Tribe, it also provides an opportunity for a more constructive and fruitful relationship between the City and the Snoqualmie Tribe. While we have enjoyed working with the Muckleshoot Tribe as owner of the Salish, we welcome the opportunity to more closely partner with our local Tribal neighbors to help lift-up and strengthen our Valley Community as a whole.”

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  • This is so wonderful for the Tribe and all of the people living in the Snoqualmie Valley. I grew up there with many of the tribe as close friends and I wish them all the very best!

  • What a huge win for the Snoqualmie Tribe, our community and the environment. A huge loss for the City of Snoqualmie, Mayor Larson and all sitting council members (except CM Peggy Shephard) who supported this huge expansion. CM Shephard was the only city council representative willing to ask important questions pertaining to the lack of an Environmental Impact Study, complete traffic study and other negative effects on the environment this expansion would have brought. Several citizens Jane Storrs, Leslie Shepperd and myself fought for the rights of the environment, citizens, traffic concerns, lack of proper documentation, needed maps and no Environmental Impact Study being required by the city prior to endorsing this project. Concerned citizens attended multiple city meetings and shared legitimate concerns with requests and were completely ignored, demeaned, and disrespected by our current Mayor and city staff. A quick vote, with little public notice, quietly approved this project with all current council members approving it, except CM Peggy Shephard voting no. These council members knew there were many important issues not addressed: for example lack of traffic studies EIS, no Environmental Impact Study, lack of infrastructure expansion costs, yet they voted yes anyway. This was a very important project to approve according to our Mayor.

    It appears the Snoqualmie Tribe also had legitimate concerns that were presented to the city and completely ignored by our Mayor and sitting council members (except CM Peggy Shepherd). I want to thank CM Peggy Shephard for being a voice for citizens and the environment. She researches the facts and dedicates hundreds of hours to research. Unfortunately she was a sole voice to her counterparts who tried to shut her down at meetings.

    Now the City of Snoqualmie will not be receiving millions of dollars in new tax revenue that has already been factored into future budgets, what will the city do? The Tokul Round About that was orchestrated by the city in preparation for this huge development put Snoqualmie taxpayers into debt by several million dollars. Who will now pay for that loss?

    The Mayor, city and majority of council members have also initiated huge fee increases to charge taxpayers for the 55 million bond they approved to expand our water and sewer system for future growth. Now that this growth will not occur and this sewer and water expansion may not be needed, who will continue to pay for this 55 million dollar bond debt? Residents have had enough of this over charging, fee increases and growing property taxation in this city.
    We have some of the highest city water and sewer bills in the state.

    I hope city staff and management will learn a lesson from this experience and stop placing the cost of infrastructure expansion and roadway changes on the backs of citizens opposed to the developers needing these improvements. Unfortunately this poor planning will leave major debt on citizens in our small bedroom community.
    I want to thank the citizens who assisted in helping Jane Stores and other try to demand fair infrastructure contribution from developers and protection of our beautiful environment on a legal level with our city. I would also like to congratulation the Snoqualmie Tribe for their work in preserving this beautiful area and their historical significance and tribal ties to it. Thank you all very much, this is a win for the environment, wildlife and nature that we share a deep love for..

    1. “The Tokul Round About that was orchestrated by the city in preparation for this huge development put Snoqualmie taxpayers into debt by several million dollars. Who will now pay for that loss?”
      Precisely. The roundabout no one but the mayor wanted, that we all get to pay for. Wonderful.

  • ‘There is no word yet from the City of Snoqualmie regarding the potential financial impact. The Salish expansion was a tax base city officials had calculated into future operating budgets’

  • This is truly great news! Cannot stop smiling. Nobody wanted this yet this city council was pushing this down our throats. Many incumbents are running as though the expansion was a testament to their record. I will not vote for any of them…

  • Unfortunate how much anger exists in the community about the CIP for the utilities, when the money is clearly earmarked for projects that are necessary and clearly identified in a long range plan. The money raised by the bonds is mostly being spent on projects around “historic/original”(which ever doesn’t offend you) Snoqualmie which either replaces or protects aging infrastructure, improves operational effectiveness or improves environmental concerns on the systems in this area. Review the projects and costs for yourself at this link. The only project that could remotely be identified as being attached to the Salish property is the replacement of the piping across the river which is already above capacity.
    The city can now focus on the Mill Redevelopment, affordable housing and the river walk projects. This is all good news for all parties involved and not bad news for our elected officials who may or may not be reelected this week.

    1. Yeah, but we don’t really need the roundabout now, do we? They take my money and throw it away and I shouldn’t feel angry?

  • The justification for the roundabout has been well documented. Traffic safety, pedestrian safety, improved storm drainage and allowing for future traffic. Part of the future traffic was expected to come from the Muckelshoot Tribe developments. However, development isn’t only happening in Snoqualmie Valley and 202 is used by commuters from the surrounding areas which will only increase. Besides, the Snoqualmie Tribe may have a change of heart and move ahead with some sort of development in the future and the Mill Site may also add to the traffic in the area. Tourism alone will continue to increase along this route which by itself justifies it. To expand the tax base away from property taxes Snoqualmie needs to expand tourism opportunities and commercial development and this area is prime for both.

  • Living Snoqualmie