Gov. Inslee said he carefully reviewed the record and determined that STEP would create jobs and enhance tribal public services on the Spokane Reservation.
“This is not a simple situation with an easy, clear-cut answer,” Inslee said. “I wanted to be sure to fully understand all perspectives on this issue before making a decision. All sides have very compelling arguments in favor of and against this proposal. After much consideration, I decided that allowing the Spokane Tribe to develop on its federally recognized land was both fair and appropriate under the federal legal requirements.”
With Gov. Inslee’s concurrence, STEP can move forward after more than a decade of process and review.
“We are thankful for Governor Inslee’s support to help our Tribe with self-sufficiency while providing a major economic impact to the entire Spokane region,” said Carol Evans, chair of the Spokane Tribal Council.
More than 15,000 people sent postcards to Gov. Inslee supporting STEP including support from the City of Airway Heights, members of the Spokane City Council, local business leaders, and Tribes throughout the State of Washington.
The Spokane Tribe recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with theNortheastern Washington-Northern Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council to ensure the highest standards and best working conditions.
To keep the public informed of the construction schedule and collect contact information of people seeking to fill the need for construction related and permanent jobs, the Tribe announced a completely new STEP Spokane website: STEPspokane.com.
The website includes weekly construction updates, a jobs section where people can submit resumes, request employment information and learn about job fair events.
In the upcoming months, jobs on-site will include:
· Heavy equipment operators
· Truck drivers
· Concrete masons
In addition, the Tribe will hold a job fair in the coming months to fill a variety of positions. A “virtual” job fair will continue to provide information on-line.
“This project has been thoroughly scrutinized. The questions have all been answered. It’s time to support the construction and up to 5,000 much-needed jobs, which will help us become a regional entertainment destination,” said Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart. “Few areas in the country have the opportunity to secure this much private investment benefiting the local community. We are fortunate to have so many people work so hard over the years to make this happen.”
Last June, the Interior Department determined that Spokane’s proposal “is in the best interest of the Spokane Tribe and its members and is not detrimental to the surrounding community.”
As part of its review of the Spokane’s application, theBureau of Indian Affairs published the 2013 Final Environmental Impact Statement, a multi-volume study that determined STEP would:
· Ultimately create up to 5,000 construction-related and permanent jobs in Spokane County.
· Invest $400 million into Spokane County over the course of the phased project.
· Generate substantial revenues for a variety of local businesses.
· Generate millions in one-time state/county/local taxes, and millions more in state/county/local taxes annually.
· Have no negative effect on existing and future operations of Fairchild Air Force Base.
“We want to thank Gov. Inslee and applaud the Spokane Tribe for its patience and perseverance,” said Mike Foley, president of the Northeastern Washington-Northern Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council. “Now, it’s finally time to get to work. This project will improve the lives of thousands of working families.”