Chair: Jamestown S’Klallam tribe will carry on economic success
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Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Chairman W. Ron Allen addresses the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce on Monday. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe will continue to have a positive economic impact on the Northern Olympic Peninsula, according to tribal chairman Ron Allen.

“It’s been a great journey,” Allen, who has held his post since 1977, said at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday.

“We started with one full-time employee in tribal government.

“Today, we have 200 employees and have another 450 working at 7 Cedars Casino.

“So, we are a good employer in the community and provide a lot of jobs for a lot of people, Indian and non-Indian alike.”

About 75 people came to hear Allen’s address, which was billed as “An Eagle-eye view of Jamestown’s operations.”

Allen said the tribe’s footprint has increased.

When he took over as chair, it had “almost nothing” in terms of land holdings, and now it has around 1,200 acres centered in an area just east of Sequim.

Allen spoke about the tribe’s facilities, focusing on 7 Cedars Casino and plans to add a resort to the existing complex.

Allen said he hopes the resort will open its first phase in five or six years.

The project will eventually have two towers, each containing 135 hotel rooms, but they will be constructed one at a time to test the market before making a full commitment.

“We’ll phase it in,” he said.

“If the market warrants it, we’ll finance the second tower, but we can’t just finance $75 million before we do all of our research.”

The tribe has found that local banks are better partners.

“The local banks like Frontier Bank and First Federal trust you,” Allen said.

“They are closer to you and have confidence in what you are trying to achieve.

“The bigger banks, the Wells Fargos and [Bank of Americas], will only enter stronger markets with a larger revenue base, so this is harder for us to get financed through those sources.”

Allen said the tribe has a cradle-to-grave philosophy in taking care of its members, attempting to provide them with health, education and welfare.

“We talk about the holistic philosophy of working with everyone in the community, from youth to elders,” he said.

“We give to them everything they need, from education, training, physical and mental health, and housing.”

If the tribal economy has changed, the environmental commitment has stayed in place for generations.

“There is a lot of controversy around climate change, but the bottom line is that it’s a reality,” Allen said.

“The question is, if this happens within a certain time frame, what will you do?

“We try to encourage our county commissioners in Clallam and Jefferson to have more sound land-use experience.

“The environment is changing, so it’s very important to us that we become part of the solution.”

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 02. 2014 6:22PM
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