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Old 11-26-2002, 11:52 PM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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From another Northwest Board. Bob, you gets some great posts!

Not trying to bash here... but just one more reason that the commercial fishing needs to stop...time to teach the little ones to fish with hook and line and not nets...

dont understand how all this works but the article says if this land goes into trust no more county propert tax... Wish I could own just one thing that I dont have to pay Friggin taxes on.....

Tribe buys racetrack property in Auburn

By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff

Washington's biggest horse-racing track, Emerald Downs, has a new landlord: the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.

The 1,750-member tribe signed an agreement with the Segale family to purchase the 157-acre property last month. The deal, for an undisclosed price, has been approved by the tribal council and is set to close in January.

The purchase agreement raises a number of questions, from whether the tribe one day will run a casino at the track to whether it might someday take over its operations, now run by rival Northwest Racing Associates.

The purchase puts the tribe at the forefront of the entertainment industry in King County: It owns a major bingo hall as well as the largest, most profitable Indian casino in the state; it is opening a $30 million outdoor concert amphitheater in June, and it soon will own the Emerald Downs property.

"We have the casino; it's big and employs a lot of people. The amphitheater is going to be big. And now with the track included, it's more like Muckleshoot is a destination," said Tribal Council Chairman John Daniels Jr.

Jack Hodge, vice president of Northwest Racing Associates, which operates Emerald Downs, said he sees no change at the track in the near term. "It's business as usual."

Northwest Racing Associates had first right of refusal on purchase of the property.

"But we couldn't respond to that, or we would be in the position the tribe is," Hodge said.

Track owners first learned of the pending sale yesterday, Hodge said, adding, "We are still digesting it."

The company operates the track under a lease agreement that expires in 2010. At that time, the first of nine five-year optional extensions of the lease could begin.

The Muckleshoot tribe typically has sought to put land it buys into trust. That legal designation offers several important advantages for the tribe: trust land can't be foreclosed against, and it is exempt from county property taxes and local land-use laws.

Asked if the tribe planned to seek trust status for Emerald Downs, Rob Otsea, attorney for the tribe, said, "If it's possible, I'm sure the tribe will eventually do it; that is the tribe's general policy."

But converting off-reservation property to trust land is a convoluted process and requires the approval of the U.S. secretary of interior.

Under current state law, the site would have to be trust land before the tribe could place any electronic slot machines at Emerald Downs or put a casino there.

Neither activity is under discussion at this time, according to Daniels: "I don't think we are looking at doing anything different than what's there right now. Only the future will tell.

"That's a pretty good piece of ground, it's a good investment, and I don't think it is going to depreciate."

The sale does not change the picture at Emerald Downs for now, said Pat Le Pley, chairman of the Washington State Horse Racing Commission.

"In the short term, it doesn't mean anything," Le Pley said. "But in the long run, I can't imagine somebody would buy the land and being in the gaming business like they are, not wanting to wind up with the track."

And if the tribe ever put gaming machines at Emerald Downs, it would be good for horse racing, bringing more players to the track, Le Pley said.

"Everywhere that gaming machines have gone in, the quality of racing has gone up, the number of owners and breeders using the facility has gone up and the quality of the facility has gone up. It's a huge plus, and this is a state where the sport should really flourish.

"Emerald Downs should be the premier racing facility in the Northwest region."

The track opened six years ago with much fanfare. It was the successor to Longacres, the Renton oval now home to Boeing office buildings. When Emerald Downs opened in June 1996, the $81 million investment was seen as a boon to Washington's struggling thoroughbred industry, which employs about 12,000 people.

The state has no say over the sale of the property, but it would have to approve any change in the license for operating the track. The Muckleshoots have been that route before, without success.

Racetrack interests, including operators of Emerald Downs, waged a two-year battle against the Muckleshoot Tribe's attempt to take over the license of the Playfair race track in Spokane. The three-member Horse Racing Commission in 1998 denied the license request, concluding the tribe's ownership of a casino was a conflict of interest with the operation of a racetrack.

No matter what happens, the purchase of the Emerald Downs site is a coup for the tribe. It is a major piece of commercial property in Auburn.

The tribe also will receive revenue from the lease, which allows for higher rent payments if the track's revenues rise. As the landowner, the tribe will also be able to protect its interest in its new amphitheater, by blocking any attempt to stage competing shows or events that could compete with the Muckleshoot concert venue.

And if the Legislature allowed electronic slots off reservation land a change now being sought by a consortium of bars, restaurants and other entertainment interests the tribe could also block competing gambling action at Emerald Downs.

The Muckleshoot casino is less than 5 miles southeast from the track. And the tribe's amphitheater, just down the road from the casino, is set to open in June.

The tribe's casino proceeds have made its economic advancement possible. The Muckleshoots are buying more land every week, Daniels said, to address a chronic shortage of land for economic development and housing for tribal members.

The tribe or its members own 57 percent of the land on its reservation; nontribal members own the rest.

The Muckleshoots also have important holdings off the reservation, including 100 waterfront acres on Vashon Island, acquired to ensure access to tidelands for shellfish harvest.

But the Emerald Downs property is one of the tribe's most visible acquisitions to date.

"I feel good," Daniels said. "But sometimes it's kind of hard to believe going from a little smoke shop to all of a sudden owning a property like this."
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:15 AM
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pmflyfisher pmflyfisher is offline
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Why commercial net salmon and steelhead when you get make higher profit margins on casinos and tracks. Its warmer and cleaner work also. Do they need a business consultant ? This is not financial rocket science.
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Old 11-27-2002, 02:19 PM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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Hal, I can tell you weren't raised on a farm. :>)

"Its warmer and cleaner work also"

Obviously, you've never shoveled out a barn.
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Old 11-27-2002, 03:48 PM
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pmflyfisher pmflyfisher is offline
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I spent two weeks on a NYS catskills farm when I was a kid, did all of that stuff, that was enough for me. Still remember getting yelled at for stampeding the cows and having a corn fight in the chicken house. Poor cows and chickens were shook up and could not produce for a few days.

Farming is hard work just like commercial fishing, gambling is much easier and more profitable, maybe they will see the proper path and cease the commercial netting, after all is almost 2003.
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