Not Everyone Is Happy With Spokane Tribe Casino Approval

Jun 9, 2016

It’s been ten years in the making, but the Spokane tribe has won approval from Governor Inslee for its Casino in Airway Heights. The tribe says it will be an economic boon that will bring thousands of new jobs, but not all are happy with the announcement.

The projects proponents point to the $400 million expected to be spent to build the project over 10 years.

Jamie SiJohn is a spokeswoman for the Spokane Tribe Economic Project, who says they estimate the new project will bring 5000 jobs to the region.

“Grand total: approximately 5000 jobs,” said SiJohn. “That includes construction jobs and operational and management jobs. Quite frankly when we say 5000 jobs, that’s not tribal jobs, because the tribe is not that large.”

County Commissioner Al French is one who fears the new project puts the future of Fairchild Air Force base into jeopardy.

“The new mission for tanker bases is the new 46A tanker,” said French.  “And the last round for citing that tanker is this year. And one of the things they are worried about is bases that have encroachment. So this decision by the governor could jeopardize our ability to maintain a future mission for Fairchild Air Force base, which means we out that asset at risk and could have a devastating impact on this community.”

Fairchild Air Force base is the largest employer in the Spokane area. Commissioner French says the base represents $1.3 billion  of economic activity per year for the region.

Copyright 2016 Spokane Public Radio