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Sunday, December 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Air Force says proposed Spokane Tribe casino poses no insurmountable obstacles

Spokane County is moving forward with its lawsuit against a long-planned gaming and retail development on the West Plains, pointing to concerns that the Spokane tribe’s $400 million casino would hurt other businesses in the area.

But encroachment of Spokane Tribe Economic Project (STEP) on the neighboring Fairchild Air Force Base, cited early as a down side to the project, is not likely to be a barrier – at least not an insurmountable one – according tot the Air Force.

Col. Christopher Karns, director of Air Mobility Command Public Affairs, said that the base is “basically neutral” on the issue of the planned casino, though he said projects of such a scope necessarily raise some concerns.

“There are sometimes safety, noise and light pollution concerns, and encroachment also can be a concern,” he said.

“But there is a strong belief by us that all of our concerns can be completely mititgated by the Spokane Tribe,” he added.

The county has maintained longstanding opposition to the project, which was cleared by the Department of Interior last year and approved by Gov. Jay Inslee last fall. In its determination, DOI wrote that it foresaw no negative impact on the surrounding community.

The county commissioners disagreed on numerous occasions, withdrawing from a revenue-sharing agreement in 2003 and voting unanimously in May to engage in the lawsuit.

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