These are some examples of recent commercial, industrial and
residential development in the Airway Heights, WA area. Dave
and I have taken several drives through the area recently, and I
thought I would share some of what we were seeing in the envi-
rons around the family land. Tyha Davidson
“In terms of residential development
we saw several new development starts
which I will show pictures of through
out this album
This is the SPOKO gas station and Arby’s is located across the street from the fam-
ily land. The STEP project which would be built behind this would include an Indi-
an gaming facility as well as an extensive retail and conference center. See addi-
tional information about STEP on page 2, and industrial development in the West
Plains area starting at the bottom of page 3
The Spokane Tribe erected this bill-board after decisions were handed down
about the environmental impact statement and they received word from the
FAA that their proposed plans would not pose a hazard to air traffic. Recently, a
move was made in the Spokane City Council to reverse an earlier resolution to
condemn the project
Recently, several hotel chains have moved into Airway Heights be-
cause of its proximity to both Spokane International Airport and
Fairchild Air Force Base
A view of the family land as seen from Fairview Heights Road, on the
other side of the road, there are FOR SALE signs indicating that the
property currently zoned Residential/Rural Traditional is also FOR
SALE. There are three different types of zoning on the family prop-
erty, and the properties are all priced at approximately the same per
square foot despite the differences in zoning
Simchuk Family Land as currently
seen from Rte. 2 (Sunset Highway)
This Google Map of the Simchuk Family land and its position relative to the Spokane Indian’s SPOKO gas station and the proposed STEP casino and retail shopping development, across
the street on Rte. 2. The land is currently in Spokane County, the borders of Airway Heights stop at Craig Road. The black borders above outline the entire family plot while the white
indicates a segment that is also being marketed separately as a $360,000 36 acre light industrial zoned lot. The black bordered family parcel is currently marketed as a mixed zoned
at $ 1,269,000. The area to the left of the white boundary is zoned as residential/rural traditional. It would be difficult to sell with this zoning designation, thus a price reduction of
this segment to $ 60,000 is being considered. This would permit the family to pay off the overdue taxes to Spokane County that are accruing interest.
Current Comparative Land Values. The Simchuk Family Land as a whole is currently priced at 0.27 per S/F, the 36 acres being marketed separately are currently priced at 0.23 per
S/F. By way of comparison there are several parcels of land that are currently on the market that used to be part of the larger legacy Simchuk property. Our realtor feels they are
substantially overpriced. Nevertheless, they are priced at (1) 2.83 per S/F (corner of Craig Road & Rte. 2) (2) 1.66 per S/F (1700 S Craig Rd.) (3) 2.40 per S/F (NWC Hwy 2/Fairview
Heights Road) Another listing along Rte. 2 across the street from the main gate at Fairchild Air Force Base and comprising 292 acres is being listed at 0.41 per S/F. One of the higher
price per S/F listings is to be found close to Walmart, a little ways down Hayford Road. It is a 2.38 acre parcel at 1468 S. Hayford Road that is pricing at 6.65 per S/F. Recently a sug-
gestion has been made that the family reprice the land to 995,000.00 for the entire 109 acre listing. This would make the per S/F price at 0.21 per S/F. There are several properties
that price in this price range close by: (1) a 51.65 acre parcel that seems to be undergoing a foreclosure sale at 25213 W Sunset Hwy in Spokane, (2) an 884 acre vacant land lot in
Medical Lake is listed for 0.10 per S/F/ These two properties seem to be the only ones listed on the comparables summary with lower per S/F pricing than the 36 acre division the
family currently lists at 0.23. The family should be aware it has 1,169 feet of frontage on Rte. 2, and 1,343 feet of frontage along Fairview Heights road. This is significant given the
fact that permitted uses of its Light Industrial zoned land include, but are not limited to: banks, fast food restaurants, hotels/motels, office complexes, professional buildings, etc.
This schematic shows the plan for
the proposed STEP Commercial
development across the street
from the Simchuk Family land’s
Rte. 2 Frontage
Artists rendition of the completed STEP project
The Simchuk family land directly across the
street from the Spokane Indian’s Step project
SPOKO SPOKANE INDIAN GAS STATION (Above). The proposed STEP project wou
be located behind and adjacent to the SPOKO gas station which is directly across
the street from the Simchuk Family LLC land.
Casino Battle: Why the Opposition to Spokane Tribe's Anti-Poverty Plan?
Kevin Taylor | 3/29/13
SEE ALSO AT: www.indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/03/29/casino-battle-why-opposition-spokane-tribes-anti-poverty-plan-148438
The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a final report in February endorsing a large, off-reservation casino and hotel development for the Spokane Tribe in eastern
Washington, but observers of Indian gaming say this doesn’t quite mean the tribe can start up the earth-movers. The project requires both federal and state approv-
al, and only five tribes across the U.S.—including the neighboring Kalispell Tribe, which is opposing the Spokane on this project—have been granted such two-
part permission for off-reservation gaming in the 25 years under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
In addition, the Spokane’s quest to build a casino close to the city of Spokane, which has nearly 500,000 people in its greater metro area, has encountered strong
opposition from groups that say what’s good for the Spokane would be bad for them. This includes the Kalispell, whose Northern Quest Resort & Casino is less
than four miles away on trust land, and local business groups that fear the new casino could destroy the regional economy if it endangers the area’s largest employ-
er, Fairchild Air Force Base. The Spokane Tribe’s property is about two miles from the base, which has raised concerns about encroachment of flight paths, poten-
tially making Fairchild vulnerable to a future round of base closures by the federal government.
The BIA, in its final environmental impact statement, gives lengthy rebuttals to the encroachment issue, noting that Fairchild officials—as well as the United States
Air Force—participated in joint land-use planning efforts and concluded the Spokane’s casino and hotel development does not pose a significant safety threat to the
base. In addition, Spokane Tribal Chairman Rudy Peone and others say Fairchild is short-listed as one of the bases that could house the new Boeing KC-46 military
aerial refueling and strategic transport aircraft. Supporters of the Spokane’s casino see this as a vote of confidence against closure.
Opponents of the proposed casino in Spokane County government and regional business say the BIA has not fully addressed the encroachment concerns and plan
to keep fighting, likely lobbying new Washington Governor Jay Inslee or the Department of Interior’s Secretary-nominee Sally Jewell, who is the chief executive
officer of the Seattle-based outdoor gear retailer, REI. They say 5,000 jobs at Fairchild are too significant to the local economy to risk for a casino project.
“Communication now is really critical for people who want to get their voice heard,” says Rich Hadley, president and CEO of the pro-business group, Greater Spo-
kane, Inc., which opposes the Spokane’s proposal. Hadley and Spokane County officials previously stated that the 30-day comment period on the Final environ-
mental impact statement, which ended March 4, was too brief. After a request from Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, (R-Washington), writing on behalf of
the county, the BIA has extended the comment period to May 1. The Spokane Tribe wrote the agency to say it did not oppose the extension. Still, Hadley said op-
ponents will likely focus their attention on Jewell (if appointed) and Inslee. So, “when you think about who do you communicate with, you are probably naming
them,” Hadley adds.
Ben Stuckart, president of the Spokane City Council, counters, “I really think a lot of the opposition boils down to economic encroachment. I don’t think that’s ever
a reason to oppose a project that will bring jobs and alleviate poverty.” The city council split four to three to oppose a new casino. Spokane’s mayor, David A. Con-
don, is also an opponent. Examination of the proposal—for which gaming would grow to 2,500 electronic gaming machines, 50 table games and 10 poker rooms—
now goes to the BIA’s Office of Indian Gaming and, ultimately, to the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs at the Department of Interior, before the feds release a
Record of Decision, an open-ended review process which is expected to take months. The proposal is for more than just a casino. The Spokane Tribe Economic
Project also includes a 300-room hotel, several restaurants ranging from fast food to fine dining, a standalone big-box retail site along with a shopping mall, a
10,000-square-foot tribal cultural center and a tribal police and fire station.
The big issue for the BIA will be weighing benefits to the Spokane against harm to the Kalispell, several observers of Indian gaming say. On the benefit side, the
casino will rescue the tribe’s economy, says Peone, citing roughly 50 percent unemployment in recent years and reduced funding to tribal services as once-robust
timber contracts have shriveled. So has income from two small casinos—among the first in Washington—in the decade since Northern Quest has opened on the
outskirts of Spokane. The Spokane Tribe’s two casinos are each an hour’s drive or more from the city. “It’s a no-brainer,” Peone says of gamblers going to North-
ern Quest. “So we really had a lot of cuts.” On the harm side, the Kalispell have risen from dire poverty thanks to Northern Quest, which has recently undergone a
$210 million expansion. The tribe, which has closed its enrollment at roughly 425 members since the
casino opened, has constructed a wellness center and helps members with housing, health care and
education. It also is robustly funding language preservation and other initiatives.
The Spokane Tribe, “should be encouraged,” that the BIA endorsed the full Class III gaming-plus-
hotel-plus-retail option in the final environmental impact statement, says Ron Allen, longtime chair-
man of Washington’s Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and chairman of the board of the Washington Indi-
an Gaming Association. But, he adds, “When a tribe already has a casino and they want another loca-
tion, a better location, the bureau takes that into serious consideration.” Also, Allen says, protection of
a gaming tribe’s debt load is a significant and fairly new consideration for the BIA when weighing the
risks of another tribe’s entry into the market.
The Kalispell Tribe, which did not agree to interviews for this story, has made protection of its reve-
nue stream from Northern Quest a central argument against the Spokane Tribe’s proposal. In a pre-
pared statement, the Kalispell cite the conclusions of two third-party market-analysis firms: “[If] the
Spokane Tribe is allowed to move forward with their proposal, it would devastate our tribe’s ability to
provide services, such as health care and education, to our members, and we submitted comments to
the BIA demonstrating that harm.” Northern Quest is the Kalispell's only method of funding tribal
services, Chairman Glen Nenema has pointed out in letters to the BIA. He and others note the Ka-
lispell reservation is small, remote and that much of it is a floodplain, severely restricting commercial opportunities.
Patrick D. Rushing is mayor of the city of Airway Heights, located between the Kalispell's Northern Quest and the Spokane Tribe’s 145-acre site. He is enthusiastic
about both projects. He says he’s optimistic about the chances of a new casino, citing a December 11 and 12 visit by Interior’s Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs,
Kevin Washburn. “He went out and looked at the Kalispell Tribe’s reservation and all of the improvements that were made and went through Northern Quest and
saw all this nice stuff. The next day, he went out to Two Rivers and Wellpinit [on the Spokane reservation] and on to the Chewelah casino and could see the vast
difference,” Rushing recalls.
In its impact statement, the BIA devoted an appendix to addressing the Kalispell contentions that a new casino will reduce its revenues by as much as 50 percent
and will not expand the market. A report by the New Orleans–based Innovation Group in the final Environmental impact statement disputes this, offering many
examples around the country of a new casino entering a market and all casinos seeing increased revenue. Peone vows that the Spokane will develop the site with or
without gaming. “We recently had our 132nd year since we’ve been placed on the reservation. I view that as survival. We’ve been here for thousands and thou-
sands of years and we will remain. We will survive.”
Potential Industrial Expansion in the West Plains Area (article from the INLANDER magazine)
Spokane County Commissioner Al French holds up his smartphone with a stock-market app showing Boeing's shares soaring. "If you were to do a three-year timeline, this thing
looks like Mount Everest," French says. Boeing is posting record profits. It's the world's largest aerospace company — No. 30 on the Fortune 500 — and it's poised to grow even
more. An aging fleet, a sizable backlog and the explosion of the middle class across Asia and the Middle East mean that Boeing's biggest problem is meeting all that demand.
The question isn't if there will be an aerospace boom in the next few decades — it's where. Whether Washington state and Spokane County will be able to take advantage of
Recently, Ben Stuckart, President of the Spokane City
Council made a motion to reverse the council’s earlier
resolution to oppose the STEP project saying that the
situation had changed since the resolution’s passage.
The Air Force signing off on the EIS (environmental im-
pact statement and the FAA ruling that the proposed de-
velopment did not pose a hazard to any air traffic either
from the Air Base or the Airport. Between the lines he
indicated that almost all of financial support for the oppo-
sition had come from the Kalispell’s silent partners.
See the discussion of this on the KXLY-TV news website:
Boeing's thriving business is still very much in the air. French says nothing can be taken for granted "This notion that they're here, and since they've been here forever, they'll be
here forever, is a big threat," French says. The latest battle has been over the 777X, Boeing's next big fuel-efficient composite-wing plane. Gov. Jay Inslee has called it "the single
most important thing for the economy in the next decade for the state of Washington." At the beginning of November, Inslee called a special session of the legislature to pass a bill
extending Boeing the biggest state tax break in U.S. history.
But the aerospace giant agreed to build the plane in-state only if the machinists union signed an eight-year contract. Boeing promised union members a $10,000 signing bonus.The
majority of Boeing machinists, however, saw it as a slap in the face. The contract would have weakened future retirement benefits and slowed down wage increases for new work-
ers. Some ripped up copies of the proposed contract. Others set it on fire. Workers rejected the offer by 2-to-1. "I'm just so proud of our brothers and sisters," says Robley Evans, a
forklift driver at Boeing's Auburn plant. "You will not threaten us. You will not blackmail us. Period."
With that, the future of the state's aerospace sector got a little cloudier. Washington is still in the running, but Boeing has been considering other suitors — from states like Texas,
South Carolina, Alabama, Utah and Missouri — who bring promises of cheap labor and custom incentives. "The company will continue to leverage its full resources to ensure that
we remain competitive," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder says, who adds that Boeing hopes to have a site selected by sometime next year. That ultimate decision could reverberate
across the Inland Northwest. In the past few years, manufacturers, politicians and educators throughout the region have been fighting to boost the aerospace industry — recruiting
new companies, strengthening its supply chain and training a new workforce. A few years ago, Greater Spokane Inc. bragged about 80 aerospace-related businesses in the region.
Now it can boast about having more than 100.
"As I talk to companies throughout the country, the one thing that I hear that is most frustrating is 'Wow, Spokane has that? We didn't know that'," French says. "That's our fault."
Slowly, he says, that's changing. "We're getting on everybody's radar."
The Grand Plan
When French drives to the Portland airport, he sees the surrounding property brimming with aerospace businesses and manufacturers. Not so in Spokane. "You go out to Spokane
[International Airport], you see vacant land — crickets getting lonely," French says. But he says that's finally beginning to change. French is on the board of the Spokane Interna-
tional Airport and is a part of Air Spokane, an alliance of local officials and business advocates who want to grow the local aerospace industry. He says the region has finally be-
come more aggressive in wooing aerospace companies.
With labor costs expensive and space scarce in the Puget Sound area, Spokane has pitched itself as a plausible in-state alternative to help Boeing meet its demand. "If Boeing is
constrained in Renton, could we provide the opportunity for a facility to be built here in Spokane?" asks Airport Director Larry Krauter. In 2011, consulting group Accenture ana-
lyzed which Washington city was most ideal in which to construct the 737 MAX. Unsurprisingly, longtime 737 manufacturer Renton ranked first. But Accenture ranked Spokane
second, praising the region's workforce pool, size and low labor cost. Boeing chose Renton, but that hasn't stopped local leaders from promoting Spokane as an alternative if pro-
duction ever outgrows the Puget Sound facility. When French sees Boeing's big green fuselages gliding past downtown Spokane on the railroad tracks, rolling by Spokane Interna-
tional and onward to westside factories, he thinks: Spokane could easily affix the wings to those fuselages.
"We can give you everything Seattle can give you, except for congestion," French says he told a Boeing executive, then quipping: "But if that's important to you, we'll artificially
On the second floor of the Spokane International Airport, Krauter motions across a wall-sized aerial photograph of Spokane International, across the vast quantities of empty land
owned by the airport. Part of that land is reserved for a future runway, but the rest is vacant. Open for business. Krauter and French want to recruit manufacturers to operate near
the airport, tackling different elements of aerospace production. An assembly line of assembly lines.
"You can railcar in raw materials, go to finish production and final assembly, all at the same site," French says. "That's the master plan." Air Spokane plans to hire a consultant
within the next two months to examine the current aerospace industry and suggest which sort of companies would be best to recruit. Pieces already are in place. On the map,
Krauter points to a warehouse just off the airport: That's Associated Painters, the company that's painted a Colorado flag across a Southwest Airlines airplane and giant salmon
across Alaska Airlines fuselages. In 2010, the company relocated its headquarters from Everett to Airway Heights. By spring it will have a second warehouse in the region, ready to
step up production and hire up to 50 employees.
French estimates 20 major aerospace companies have Spokane on their radar. Aviation Technical Services, a maintenance and repair company, has narrowed down the location of
its next facility to either Everett or Spokane, promising 400 to 450 new jobs. Another, a metals manufacturer with 300 more jobs, is prepared to settle in Spokane County if it can
find a facility low-priced enough to meet its bottom line. A coalition of groups and businesses have even created a "site selector" website at selectspokane.com, a place where aero-
space businesses can learn nearly everything they need to know about available spots for future facilities.
Spokane County is also seeking out other aerospace giants like Airbus, Bombardier and Spirit to help diversify the local industry. Even one major manufacturer moving here could
result in a cascade of others doing the same. Still, Boeing's proximity remains one of Spokane's strongest recruiting assets — if the company ever were to leave, Spokane could lose
that. "Because Boeing is here, other airline manufacturers are also looking at Spokane," French says.
The scent of melting plastic hangs in the air as baby-blue robot arms whir back and forth over a programmed track, precisely slicing aircraft seat parts from molded plastic.
Dean Cameron, national sales manager for the Spokane Valley manufacturer Multifab, Inc., walks past rows of sewing machines and piles of tray-table pieces, business-class stow
bins, class-divider curtains and bulletproof ballistic blankets. "The word 'hurry' — expedite, rush and hurry — is used lots around here," Cameron says. "One of the most common
phrases you'll hear is 'The customer is moving the delivery to the
left.' Where they may have had it scheduled for February, they
need it by December."
Boeing brings the same hard-line cost-cutting philosophy it's
used in its union battles to negotiations with its suppliers. "I'm
sounding like Darth Vader here," Boeing CEO Jim McNerney
chuckled as he outlined the company's tough stance with suppli-
ers at an investor conference in May: Low-performing suppliers
could land on a "No Fly" list — banned from selling to Boeing.
Boeing already has sent letters to some suppliers, telling them
they aren't allowed to bid on the 777X. The Spokane region has
adapted: Since 2006, many local aerospace manufacturers have
joined together as the Inland NorthWest Aerospace Consortium
(INWAC), even though many of the individual companies are
Mike Marzetta, president of Liberty Lake manufacturer Altek
and an INWAC chair, squints at the small gap between his
thumb and index finger. "We might be able to take this much of
a slice," he says, before spreading his arms wide, "of a pie that's
He continues: "It's coop-etition. You combine your efforts."
And it's working. Airplane hubcaps, equipped with tire-pressure
-detecting sensors, are built at Altek. Airplane wheels and brakes
are built locally at UTC Aerospace. In a former Boeing plant in
Airway Heights, Triumph Composite Systems churns out duct-
work and floor panels for airplanes. Spokane County aerospace
wages have risen like a rocket, soaring 66 percent from 2007's
$38.7 million to $64.4 million in 2012.
In part, credit INWAC's push for certification. Top-tier certifications for the aero-
space industry are expensive and time-consuming to obtain, but are required to
work with a company like Boeing or its suppliers. Marzetta runs a blue highlighter
across a list of all the local companies who've recently acquired their certification:
Accra-Fab, Altek, Apex Industries, Inland Northwest Metallurgical Services, Nova-
tion... 11 companies total.
In turn, the companies have been rewarded. "Three years ago, aerospace was proba-
bly 15 percent of our business. Now it's 45 percent of our business," Marzetta says
of Altek. Last year, aerospace was one-twentieth of L&M Precision Fabrication's
business; this year it's nearly a third. Manufacturers once ignored at aerospace trade
shows have found they get noticed when they're part of INWAC. Suppliers and as-
semblers can bring their shopping list of parts to INWAC, and INWAC can match
them up with local subcontractors that can build them. In one sense, the aerospace
market is globalized. This year Boeing purchased 780 million parts from 1,200 sup-
pliers in 39 different countries. Spokane plants produce parts for suppliers in Ger-
many and France, and likely still will no matter where the 777X is built. But loca-
tion still matters, because location impacts speed. By connecting local companies
with each other, INWAC has given them crucial efficiencies.
Marzetta turns a power supply for an airplane cockpit in his hand. Bare parts like
these are sent to Inland Northwest Metallurgical Services for heat-treating or to No-
vation for nickel-plating, then back to Altek. Since they're both nearby, the process
takes days or even hours instead of weeks. "Prior to them committing to the aero-
space industry, we had to ship this crap across the country to get plated," Marzetta
says. "It's turned a competitive weakness into a competitive advantage." That's the
story across the region: L&M sends seat braces to MultiFab, which attaches seat-
belt brackets. MultiFab produces molded plastic specifically for UTC Aerospace systems to ship its brake pads.
Marzetta likes the pressure of speed and quality. "We had this old company idea — we don't do business with Boeing because it's such a pain in the butt," Marzetta says. "And I
was like, 'No, no, no.' We need to look at that differently. We want to do business with Boeing because it's a pain in the butt." While "slow and fat and happy" competitors struggle
and complain, nimble and scrappy manufacturers move up. "They haven't had to crawl and scratch their way into competitiveness," Marzetta says.
Politics and Profits
Part of being nimble and scrappy comes down to picking the perfect location. It's why Titan Spring Inc. chose Hayden, Idaho.
The manufacturer makes springs that go into everything from airplane seat pockets to Boeing satellites. One, a thick, 2-foot-long coil, is heading for the machinery of an airplane
bathroom, while another, as tiny as a watch battery, will make up a crucial piece of a pacemaker. Just a few years ago, Titan Spring was located in the once-mighty aerospace hub
of Southern California. But over the past two decades, California's aerospace industry crashed. From 1990 to 2012, aerospace jobs in Los Angeles County fell from 130,000 to less
"They're the worst in the United States," Titan Spring president Jim Glenn says about
California. "They love to tax, they love to regulate. You don't get anything out of
Torn between Spokane and North Idaho when fleeing the Golden State, he says over-
hearing Washington Sen. Patty Murray on the radio sent him to Idaho.
"Washington state seems like they take their cue from California with their politics,"
Glenn says. He doesn't like Washington's minimum wage — highest in the country —
or the B&O tax businesses have to pay even if they lose money. "It's a hell of a thing
to lose money and have to borrow money to pay your taxes," he says.
In Airway Heights, L&M Precision Fabrication's Fred Brown reels off his frustrations
with Washington's environmental regulations, workers' compensation insurance struc-
ture and tax structure. He worries the business climate is repelling Boeing. "Our cost
of operation would be reduced 30 percent by moving to Post Falls. I'm 63 years old. I
don't have enough life left to amortize it out," says Brown. "That's the only thing that
has kept us in Spokane."
Yet few companies wield as much power over Washington state policy as Boeing.
When the state Ecology Department sought to update inaccurate fish-consumption rate
estimates, Boeing — along with other businesses — pushed back, worried it would
cause stricter environmental standards. Many people, citing internal governmental
emails, credit the company's behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts with repeatedly
stalling Ecology's review. Even the sort of politicians who condemn special interests
make an exception for Boeing. The progressive activist group Fuse Washington gave
state Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) the 2012 "Inter-Continental Smackdown Champi-
on Award," praising him for ending unjust tax breaks for special interests. Yet when it
came to Boeing's special interests, Billig recently joined 41 other state senators in extending Boeing preferential tax treatment worth $8.7 billion through 2040.
"I oppose the tax incentives that don't work," Billig says. The Boeing tax break, he says, has been proven to work, spurring economic development and thus more tax revenue.
Washington also has a variety of general tax exemptions for the aerospace industry. But those efforts haven't stopped Boeing from pulling pieces out of the state. In 2001, Boeing
moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. A decade ago, Boeing opted to farm out construction of entire sections of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner worldwide, including part of
the fuselage in South Carolina. The machinists union has often clashed with Boeing. A 2008 strike lasted four weeks and cost Boeing more than $2 billion. State Sen. Michael
Baumgartner's proposed solution is to make Washington a "Right to Work" state, a change that could cripple unions by eliminating mandatory union dues.
"Look, if 'Right to Work' can happen in Michigan, it can happen in the state of Washington," Baumgartner (R-Spokane) says. "Obviously, it's a political challenge. Mandatory un-
ion donations are the No. 1 funder of Democratic candidates." Even with the high cost of labor and contentious union negotiations, Washington has one last ace up its sleeve: The
same skilled workforce that refused to take Boeing's contract.
Building for the Future
Washington's trained workers are probably its best argument. As Inslee bragged on Twitter on Nov. 20: "WA has best aerospace workers in the world and hard as other states will
try, they can't replicate [local union] expertise in time to win 777X." The 2011 Accenture study identified Washington's skilled workforce as one of the state's greatest strengths,
but warned that other states could catch up. North Idaho College, for example, just launched an Aerospace Division this fall.
It's why the Washington State Legislature paired its big tax break for Boeing with even more funding for education. On both sides of the Cascades, local regions are investing in
training. Washington State University is opening a branch campus in Everett aimed at training Boeing machinists. A $20 million federal grant to Air Washington in 2011 infused
local community colleges with extra funds to improve their aerospace training. The extra funds allowed Spokane Community College to add a program focusing on composites, the
material used in the 777X, and expand its aviation maintenance program by 25 percent.
For his part, Inslee hasn't just been praising Washington's workforce; he's been highlighting how using a less adept workforce amounts to gambling with billions of dollars. Inslee
points to the 787 Dreamliner, which was plagued by new suppliers' parts that didn't fit and expensive mistakes made by inexperienced workers in South Carolina. Even before the
Josh Newburg, left, and Nick Bell install solenoids. As a quarter of Boeing machin-
ists prepare to retire, Washington has rushed to train new aerospace employees
through conduits like Spokane Community College's aviation program.
Fred Brown, vice-president of L&M Precision Fabrication, has seen major growth
in his company in Spokane County — though he says operations would be much
787s were temporarily grounded due to battery fires this summer, the plane had experienced three years of delays costing billions of dollars. Back at the Spokane County offices,
Al French thumbs through pages from a few of the many PowerPoint presentations he's given across the country, attempting to convince aerospace executives to invest in the Inland
Northwest. The stakes remain sky-high. "There isn't a trip I make back to D.C. that I'm not talking to someone in the aerospace industry," he says.
French says it all comes down to providing jobs. "We don't need a big building with Boeing on it. We want the jobs," French says. Another good thing about adding high-skilled,
well-paying jobs to Spokane is that they have secondary impacts. The aerospace industry carries a multiplier effect, the economist's version of a buy-one-get-one-free policy. Add-
ing 10 aerospace jobs, according to Greater Spokane Inc.'s estimate, creates about eight additional secondary jobs. "That's new money — that comes from outside the community
into the community, and then it ripples through," French says. "It's not just a job on the production line. It's that job, plus the other jobs it supports in the community, by supporting
the grocery store and the car [salesman] and the construction worker." ♦
A considerable amount of industrial development already exists in the Airway Heights and West Plains area, despite its name this industrial park is actually located in
Airway Heights, which with a newly $ 45,000,000.00 water reclamation facility is making plans to add another industrial park in the 21st Avenue area there is a great
deal of interest in the West Plains because of plans to develop an aerospace cluster of manufacturing companies to eventually facilitate a substantial aircraft assembly
L&M Precision Fabrication uses CNC technology to ac-
curately manufacture parts and components. The use of
CNC manufacturing equipment combined with the AS
9100 Quality Management System, provides consistent
quality and dimensional precision throughout the pro-
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Spokane City Council seeks to reverse stance on proposed casino
SPOKANE, Wash. -
The Spokane City Council has changed its mind and is now trying to reverse its opposition to a new casino in Airway Heights.
The Spokane Tribe wants to build the mixed use entertainment and casino development near Highway 2 and Craig Road. The 145 acre development would sit here and would be
two miles away from Northern Quest casino.
The biggest concern for opponents isn't on the ground but in the air above where tankers from Fairchild Air Force base fly training sorties. In 2012, the Spokane City Council
passed a resolution stating the city was against the Spokane Tribe's economic development plan to build a casino in Airway Heights. Now they want to rescind that resolution.
"All of the points on the original resolution that passed have been contradicted by the facts on the ground," City Council President Ben Stuckart said.
The development originally came under fire for it's proximity to Fairchild; a joint land use study adopted by the county in 2012 placed the location of the new casino in a military
impact area, a factor that could put the future viability of Fairchild in jeopardy. "And in Spokane more than 52 percent of the flights are training flights that will be fully loaded
tankers, going directly over a very populated facility," said Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke.
Fairchild brings in more than $1 Billion in economic impact to Spokane each year. Stuckart says in his discussion with military officials the new casino would not impact the base's
future. "It's a red herring that really scares us and tries to scare these projects. I think that the only encroachment here is the economic encroachment on the Kalispell Tribe's casi-
no," said Stuckart, referring to Northern Quest.
The final economic impact statement is now in the hands of the Secretary of the Interior for approval or denial.
"The only reason that this type of facility would be allowed is that it's tribal and it falls outside the normal regulations," said Mielke.
Stuckart says the city should have been neutral all along.
"While it's at the federal level it's inappropriate for the City of Spokane to be officially weighing in," said Stuckart.
Mielke, however, said pick a side.
"Are we going to be unified, strong and consistent in our messaging about protecting Fairchild Air Force Base?" he asked.
If the economic impact statement is approved, it will then be sent to Governor Jay Inslee for final approval for construction begins.
Meanwhile, the city council will vote on taking back its stance against the development on February 24.
Spokane City Council: Let’s Move Forward
Posted on February 7, 2014 by STEP
For Immediate Release
Feb. 6, 2014
Spokane City Council: Let’s Move Forward
Resolution Supports BIA Findings
Feb. 6, 2014 – Supporters of the Spokane Tribe Economic Project (STEP) applauded the Spokane City Council for introducing a resolution to rescind an earlier City Council reso-
lution that had opposed the proposed entertainment and mixed-use development. In addition, the new resolution to be voted on Feb. 24 encourages the Interior Department to re-
view extensive federal studies when making a decision on STEP. The studies show that STEP will transform 145 acres of vacant land into a vibrant community asset that creates
jobs and promotes economic stability for Spokane County and will have no detrimental effects on the surrounding community.
Nearly a year ago, the Bureau of Indian Affairs published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), a multi-volume study that determined STEP would:
Invest $400 million into Spokane County.
Generate “substantial” revenues for a variety of businesses.
Generate $6.6 million in one-time state/county/local taxes, and $4.7 million state/county/local taxes annually.
Create 2,216 construction-related and 2,805 permanent jobs in Spokane County.
Have no negative effect on existing and future operations of Fairchild Air Force Base.
The new resolution notes that the Spokane City Council’s previous legislation opposing STEP, approved by a 4-3 vote, was voted on two years ago when the FEIS was incomplete.
City Council President Ben Stuckart stated: “The concerns stated in the previous resolution have been thoroughly analyzed through the transparent EIS process conducted by the
BIA. There is no reason that the entire community should not fully support this important project.” “We fully support the City Council’s President resolution and believe it’s an
important statement,” said local labor leader Mike Foley. “We need to get our people working. The project has been thoroughly vetted. It’s time to break ground and kick-start our
The unemployment rate in Spokane County is 7.3 percent, higher than the statewide rate and more than three percentage points higher than King County. STEP is located in the
City of Airway Heights, where the unemployment rate is 12.9 percent and 30.1 percent of residents live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census. Forbes magazine routinely plac-
es Spokane as one of the worst metro areas in the United States for job growth. “The kind of private investment STEP will bring to the community is an incredible opportunity that
doesn’t come around too often. We need to take advantage of it and move forward together,” said Spokane Tribal Council Chairman Rudy Peone. “Everywhere I go, people talk
about the jobs that will come out of this.”
Located immediately northwest of the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Craig Road, STEP consists of the development of a world-class resort casino, mid-rise hotel, a parking
structure, a lifestyle retail center, commercial facilities, a Tribal cultural center, and a Tribal police and fire station. The project is under review by the Secretary of the Interior.
Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Interior Secretary must make a “two-part determination” that the project is in the best interest of the Tribe and not detrimental to the
surrounding community. Gov. Inslee must concur with the Secretary’s determination before gaming can occur on the site.
Cheney Free Press
February 13, 2014 | Vol. 117 -- No. 43
During the Feb. 10 Airway Heights City study session, Mayor Patrick Rushing announced that the Spokane City Council reversed their decision on the Spokane Tribe Economic
Project (STEP). Rushing said he was requested to go to the Feb. 24 Spokane City Council meeting to answer questions on behalf of the city. Development Services Director Der-
rick Braaten asked if he should attend the meeting with Rushing and the mayor answered “the more the merrier.”
Author: Aaron Luna, KXLY4 Reporter / Weather Anchor , firstname.lastname@example.org
FAA: STEP will not impact Fairchild AFB
For Immediate Release
Dec. 13, 2013
FAA: STEP will not impact Fairchild AFB
Today’s determination is the latest analysis to show retail/entertainment project will not impact flight operations
Spokane – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a study yesterday determining that the proposed Spokane Tribe Economic Project (STEP) “would not be a hazard
to air navigation” around Fairchild Air Force Base. This is the second time the FAA has issued a “no hazard” determination for STEP. The FAA’s findings were based on allowa-
ble building heights of 145 feet. However, according to Tribal leaders, final design of the proposed Airway Heights entertainment-resort-retail project will likely include buildings
well below the height deemed permissible by the FAA. Spokane Tribal Council Chairman Rudy Peone stated: “Although we are in the preliminary design stages, our current plans
call for the hotel tower to be around four stories, which would only be a total of 60 feet in height.”
The FAA’s determination marks an important milestone, affirming that the project – which will invest more than $400 million to create about 5,000 jobs and an estimated $50 mil-
lion annual payroll – can provide an immediate boost to the local community while preserving military preparedness. “The City of Airway Heights has worked very hard to ensure
that our development regulations provide the ultimate protections for Fairchild AFB,” said Patrick Rushing, mayor of Airway Heights. “The Airway Heights City Council unani-
mously supports the Spokane Tribe Economic Project because the buildings meet all development regulations under the Joint Land Use Study for Fairchild. The economic boost to
our region will draw developers and create thousands of new jobs. We are very excited about our future.” “Our members are ready to get to work and help the local economy.
STEP means jobs, and the FAA review is one more confirmation that we can build an amazing development and maintain Fairchild at the highest level,” said Mike Foley, presi-
dent, Northeastern Washington-Northern Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council.
Today’s “Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation” by the FAA is consistent with several comprehensive studies that conclude STEP will not interfere with Fairchild Air
Force Base operations. In October 2013, the Pentagon examined STEP as part of a comparison of air bases for the new KC-46A tanker. According to The Spokesman Review,
the Air Force impact statement “doesn’t describe the casino as an insurmountable obstacle to assigning the new planes to Fairchild.”
The Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the BIA in January 2013 contains an exhaustive analysis of compatibility with Base operations, including consideration of
comments from the Air Force, and concludes that STEP will not encroach upon Fairchild Air Force Base operations. The February 2013 independent Madison Report studying
the effect of STEP on Fairchild concluded that “STEP complies with Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration regulations and criteria; it clearly does not compromise mis-
sion accomplishment or flying operations at Fairchild Air Force Base; and the air operations have little potential impact on STEP, and those who will use and benefit from its exist-
ence within the City of Airway Heights and the region.”
“The Spokane Tribe reached out early in the project planning to local jurisdictions, the Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure any potential impacts to flight
operations are identified and either avoided or mitigated,” said Peone. “The Spokane Tribe has stood true to its word. We understand the importance of Fairchild, and we’re ex-
tremely pleased by the FAA’s second ‘no hazard’ determination. We are ready to turn our plans into reality, and get our local economy moving. Unemployment is too high for trib-
al members and others in the community. We have the opportunity to make something together that will benefit Airway Heights, the Spokane Tribe and the region for generations.”
The proposed project site is located immediately northwest of the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Craig Road and consists of the development of a casino-resort facility, a 300-
room hotel, parking structure, retail and commercial uses, a Tribal cultural center, and a Tribal police/fire station. The STEP project is under review by the Secretary of the Interior.
Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Interior Secretary must make a “two-part determination” that the project is in the best interest of the tribe and not detrimental to the
community. Gov. Inslee must concur with the Secretary’s determination before gaming can occur on the site.
Comment from: Fred Pollard, Member: West Plains Chamber of Commerce, Cheney Merchant’s Association, former member: Cheney Town Council, Member of Transportation
Committee, State of Washington, Member Executive Committee, Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
The Spokane Indian’s quest to build a second casino close to the city of Spokane, which has nearly 500,000 people in its greater metropolitan area, has encountered strong opposi-
tion from groups that say what is good for the Spokane Indians would be bad for them. This would include the Kalispell Tribe, whose Northern Quest Resort and Casino is less than
four miles away on trust land and enjoys the cash receivables of a casino monopoly, and local business groups that fear the new casino could destroy the regional economy if it en-
dangers the area’s largest employer, Fairchild Air Force Base. The Spokane Tribe’s property is about two miles from the base, which has raised concerns about its potential en-
croachment on training flight paths, potentially making Fairchild more vulnerable to a future round of base closures by increasing its score of negative issues. It is important to put
this negative scoring issue into perspective. Currently the mobile homes down the flight line has the largest negative score at a [-3]. It is possible that the proposed STEP casino
MAY have an assessment of [-1] with the Casino by the federal government BRAC* committee. [NOTE: in the competition to be the first base with K-46 tanker planes, Fairchild
lost to McDonnell AFB in Kansas because of money. McDonnell had hangars that could accommodate the K-46, Fairchild did not, and they would have had to be built. Addition-
ally, of the 100 points on a scoring test for a base, 2 points are allotted to development and encroachment issues]
*Base Reduction and Closure Committee
Joint Press Release:
City of Airway Heights and Spokane Tribe of Indians
AIRWAY HEIGHTS ANNEXES SPOKANE TRIBE PROPERTY
The City of Airway Heights announced today that it has completed all processing details and officially annexed the 145-acre site of the proposed Spokane Tribe of Indians Eco-
nomic Project (STEP) adjacent to the east city limits.
Mayor Patrick Rushing said the annexation, which received unanimous support from the Airway Heights City Council, marks a major milestone in the city’s vision for future
growth and economic sustainability.
“We have worked very closely with the Spokane Tribe over the past several years to iron out all the details of the annexation and to ensure that this will be a win-win for everyone
and there will be great positive benefits for the city,” Rushing added. He went on to say that, “the Spokane Tribe’s STEP Project is a smart development that is compatible with
land-use regulations in Airway Heights and does not encroach on Fairchild Air Force Base.”
The city, Spokane County and the Spokane Tribe have entered into an inter local agreement that covers provision of services including utilities, fire and police protection and trans-
portation improvements. The Tribe has agreed to provide impact fees to cover the costs of many of the services.
Tribal Chair Greg Abrahamson hailed the annexation as a significant move forward for the STEP development. “Our discussions with the city have been very positive and we look
forward to a continued close working relationship as the project comes to fruition,” he said.
The 145 acres annexed are tribal trust lands and are part of the tribe’s original ancestral grounds. The tribe now operates the SPOKO Fuel service station and an Arby’s restaurant
on a small portion of the site, which is located north of Highway 2 and west of Craig Road.
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