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Zackuse delivers State of the Tribes


Christopher Andersson

Marie Zackuse gives her State of the Tribes address during a Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce meeting on June 29.

Tulalip Tribal chairwoman Marie Zackuse talked about the Tribes' projects from the previous year and their plans for the future at her State of the Tribes address on June 29.

Zackuse said that the Tribes' main goals are fostering a clean and productive environment, resilient economy and healthy community.

"According to our traditions one of the most important things we are born with are responsibilities," she said.

"One of those responsibilities is to the future generations that are to come. It is our duty to ensure that they have what they need to be Coast Salish people," she said.

Throughout the years the Tulalip Tribes have fought through many obstacles, said Zackuse.

"Back in the 1960s tribal government was very small, and I began working for the Tribes during this phase and I can tell you we all fit into one building with around 30 employees," she said.

"Today the tribal government provides services to its membership, which is at 4,800 members and growing," she said.

More than 50 percent of those members are under 25 as well, so membership does not appear to be declining.

The previous year saw renovations to a couple of the Tribes' main buildings.

"We relocated our police department and court into a new building across the road from its former location," said Zackuse.

The new building is 70,000-square-feet, more than doubling their space, and hosts five judges, 31 court staff, 52 police officers and police staff and local court programs and legal aid programs.

The Tulalip Tribes' health clinic also received a renovation this year as well.

"We have made major changes to our healthcare delivery system," said Zackuse. "We completed a major renovation to make the clinic more welcoming, use space more efficiently and get patients through more quickly."

They also converted patient health records to an electronic format which can now connect to many local hospitals including the Everett Clinic.

The Tribes' clinic is also integrating with their behavioral health specialists to treat addiction issues.

"The health clinic is welcoming eight new behavioral health specialists to the team," said Zackuse.

"The clinic and behavioral health/chemical dependency used to be separate divisions," she said.

Future development for the Tribes includes plans for more businesses at Quil Ceda Village (the village area around the Tulalip Resort Casino) and the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino.

A bigger Quil Ceda Creek Casino is also currently under construction near Fourth Street.

"The new Quil Ceda Creek Casino and Hotel will join the Tulalip Resort Casino as the two premier destinations for entertainment and fun in the northwest," said Zackuse.

It will include 150 guest rooms, a VIP business lounge and special event and meeting facilities.

The Tribes hope that Quil Ceda Village continues to grow.

"We recently completed a study that resulted in a 20-year plan for Quil Ceda Village," said Zackuse.

"Our vision for the village is that it become a significant economic center that attracts visitors for entertainment and shopping," she said.

New development can continue to improve economic conditions for Tulalip members, she said.

The Tribes also continue to work on infrastructure for this development, including the Tulalip water pipeline that was completed last year "after years of being in the works and planning and commitment by our staff," said Zackuse.

The 116th Street overpass is another infrastructure project that the Tribes are working on.

"When the Tulalip Tribes begin a project, one of our biggest concerns is 'how long will it last and what will be its impact to fish and wildlife,'" said Zackuse.

"Storm runoff from the interchange will be pre-treated before it enters the adjacent Quil Ceda creek," she said.

The new overpass will be constructed to minimize impact to local fish, she said.


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