King County Council Remembers 1865 Exclusion of Native Americans

Courtesy kingcounty.govCouncilmembers are joined by representatives of the region’s Indigenous Communities as the Council declared Feb. 7, 2015 “Native American Expulsion Remembrance Day.” Claudia Kauffman, Intergovernmental Affairs with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, is holding the proclamation.
Councilmembers are joined by representatives of the region’s Indigenous Communities as the Council declared Feb. 7, 2015 “Native American Expulsion Remembrance Day.” Claudia Kauffman, Intergovernmental Affairs with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, is holding the proclamation.


Richard Walker, Indian Country Today


It was 150 years ago that Seattle’s first city council banned Native Americans from entering the city. But the pain from that act continued to be felt by succeeding generations as bigotry and injustice followed.

The exclusion ordinance was enacted in 1865. The following year, the local representative in Congress, Arthur Denny, opposed the establishment of a reservation for the Duwamish, further bolstering the Duwamish diaspora. Twenty-eight years later, in 1894, settlers burned to the ground the last Duwamish longhouse in the area. Today, the Duwamish Tribe is still fighting to restore its relationship with the United States, with whom it signed the Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855.

The bigotry and injustice of Seattle’s exclusion ordinance was “a lesson that generations thereafter continue, unfortunately, to repeat,” King County Councilman Rod Dembowski said on February 2. “We had the Chinese Exclusion Act [of 1882]. The Japanese American community was excluded in the [Second World] War. Hopefully we don’t ever see that again.”

The King County Council took a step to help heal the pain. The council proclaimed February 7, the 150th anniversary of the Seattle exclusion ordinance, as Native American Expulsion Remembrance Day.

Councilman Larry Gossett, who with Dembowski introduced the proclamation, noted that the 1865 exclusion ordinance came just 13 years after Si’ahl, the leader of the Duwamish people for whom the city of Seattle was named, welcomed the first settlers and helped them survive here. Exclusion “was extremely hurtful to the Native Americans who had for thousands of years made this their homeland,” Gossett said.

Several local Native American leaders spoke at the proclamation hearing, thanking the King County Council for the effort to promote healing and understanding.

“It is so vital and important to remember our history, whether good or bad, whether positive or extremely negative,” said Claudia Kauffman, Nez Perce, a former state senator. “We need to make sure everyone knows about our history, about our strengths, about our talents and resilience,” the latter a reference to the fact that Native Americans still live in Seattle, are educated in Seattle, are involved in Seattle, and raise their families in Seattle. “Seattle and King County [have] a rich history, and we need to celebrate it and celebrate it every day,” she said.

Chris Stearns, Navajo, former chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission who now chairs the state Gambling Commission, said, “What you are doing is incredibly important. As the senator said, Native Americans are here. The city, the county were built on the foundation that is Native America. I’d also like to say that we are the future. There are some wonderful young leaders and young elected officials [in the Seattle area].” The proclamation “really means a lot to us. And I think it’s something the council can truly build upon.”

Matt Remle, Lakota, an educator and journalist, offered a greeting in Lakota and acknowledged the Duwamish people, “on whose lands we are on today … I too am a guest in their lands as a Lakota person.”

Remle said the proclamation “goes well with the recent actions by the Seattle City Council to establish Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of every October and efforts by the Seattle School Board to bring forth the ‘Since Time Immemorial’ Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum. It fits well with trying to educate about the misinformation — and [the] histories that a lot of us didn’t get in our schools.”

It’s not the first time King County has taken a stand to promote healing and correct injustice. In 1986, the County Council renamed the county in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The county was originally named in honor of William Rufus de Vane King, a pro-slavery U.S. senator from Alabama who served as U.S. vice president in 1853.



King County holds disaster exercise for oil train derailment, explosion

By Graham Johnson, KIRO 7 News


King County’s executive says the region is prepared for potential oil train disaster, but there remains a serious risk.

On Wednesday, Dow Constantine detailed results of the Puget Sound area’s first drill simulating an oil train derailment and fire.

On Tuesday, emergency responders gathered in an operations center to practice how they’d work together if a train were to derail and explode at a South Seattle rail yard.

A minor oil train derailment in Seattle last month and explosive disasters around the United States and Canada have focused attention on the danger of transporting Bakken crude.

“This is a new and significant risk for our people, our economy and our environment,” Constantine said.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe participated in the exercise.

The railroad said its responders would take the lead in extinguishing a fire on the tracks, and that the company also trains hundreds of local firefighters for disasters.

A BNSF spokesman estimated the Northwest now averages two and a half oil trains per day, and that 70 percent of the tank cars are of the newer, safer design.

Constantine said he is urging Congress to ban the use of older-style tank cars.

He also announced the formation of a group of regional elected leaders, the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance.

Because the federal government has oversight of the railroads, there’s little more he can do.

State awards more than $42 million in grants for salmon recovery


Organizations in 30 counties receive funding.

Written by Valley View Staff

The Woodinville Weekly December 9, 2013

OLYMPIA – The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership has announced the award of more than $42 million in grants to organizations around the state for projects that restore and protect salmon habitat, helping bring salmon back from the brink of extinction.

“Salmon are an important part of both Washington’s culture and economy,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Healthy salmon populations support thousands of jobs in fishing, hotels and restaurants, seafood processing, boat sales and repair, charter operations, environmental restoration and more. I am very pleased with the work of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and its efforts to fund projects that help our economy and assure future generations of Washingtonians can enjoy the return of wild salmon.”

Funding for the grants comes from the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund and the sale of state bonds. In addition, $24.4 million is from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, which is jointly approved by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership in coordination with local watersheds, for projects that will help restore Puget Sound.

Grant recipients will use the money to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating, reshape rivers and streams and replant riverbanks so there are more places for salmon to spawn, feed, rest, hide from predators and transition from freshwater to saltwater and back again.

Organizations in King and Snohomish counties were among those receiving grants. Grant recipients in King County will receive $4,458,129 and recipients in Snohomish County will receive $6,189,644.

Creating Healthy Salmon Habitat

Salmon populations in Washington have been declining for generations. As Washington grew and built its cities and towns, it destroyed many of the places salmon need to live. In 1991, the federal government declared the first salmon as endangered.

By the end of that decade, salmon populations had dwindled so much that salmon and bull trout were listed as threatened or endangered in three-quarters of the state. Those listings set off a series of activities including the formation of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to oversee the investment of state and federal funds for salmon recovery.

“Without these grants, Washington’s salmon populations would continue to decline until nothing was left,” said David Troutt, chair of the state funding board. “That’s the trajectory we were on before salmon were placed on the federal Endangered Species Act list. In most areas of the state, fish are increasing or staying the same while in some important areas, fish populations are decreasing. Habitat is the key to salmon recovery and continuing to fund these important projects will help to move all populations in a positive direction.”

How Projects are Chosen

Projects are selected by local watershed groups, called lead entities. Lead entities are local consortiums that include tribes, local governments, nonprofits and citizens who work together to recruit and review project proposals and make decisions about which projects to forward to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board for funding.

Lead entities ensure that the projects are based on regional salmon recovery plans that were approved by the federal government. Then regional salmon recovery organizations and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board review each project to ensure they will help recover salmon in the most cost-effective manner.

“This bottom-up process of local groups identifying what needs to be fixed in their communities and then those projects undergoing regional and state scientific review means only the best and most cost-effective projects will be funded,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “We have been working for more than a decade to repair the damage that has been done to salmon habitat. But we have much more to accomplish before salmon can be removed from the endangered species list. This process of local priorities and state scientific overview has proven to be the most effective way of getting projects done on-the-ground and it assures we are investing the money we have very strategically.”

The Big Picture

“Restoring our lakes, streams, rivers and ecosystem isn’t just about saving salmon. A healthy ecosystem supports human health, our economy, our traditions, and our quality of life,” said Marc Daily, interim executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency leading the recovery of Puget Sound. “These projects help to protect and perpetuate valuable resources today and for generations to come.”

Recent Oregon studies showed that every $1 million spent on watershed restoration results in 15-33 new or sustained jobs, $2.2 million to $2.5 million in total economic activity, and that 80 percent of grant money is spent in the county where the project was located.

Using the Oregon study formula, these new grants are estimated to provide more than 630 jobs during the next four years and more than $84 million in economic activity as grant recipients hire contractors, crews and consultants to design and build projects, including field crews to restore rivers and shoreline areas.

Information about the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Recreation and Conservation Office is available online at

Stage 2 Burn Ban Remains in Effect for King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is maintaining a STAGE 2 burn ban for King Pierce, and Snohomish counties
These bans remain in effect until further notice.
Fine particle pollution levels continue to be high in areas throughout the Puget Sound region, especially in neighborhoods where wood-burning is common.