Stilly tribe proud of new science showplace

ARLINGTON — The Stillaguamish Tribe’s new Natural Resources Department Building is designed to honor the tribe’s history and culture while making it easier to research and protect resources for the future.

The facility houses the tribe’s environmental and cultural preservation efforts, including ongoing fish and water quality studies. A new custom-built laboratory allows researchers to keep track of fish populations and the condition of the river and streams in the Stillaguamish watershed.

The tribe also works to protect wildlife, sacred sites, artifacts and fishing rights. More than 200,000 Chinook salmon are released into the river by the tribe each year, the Natural Resources Department reports.

“We’re all an important role in what we do,” Tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity said. “We have the duty that was put by our creator on our ancestors. We can’t protect our natural resources without our culture. This building represents the tribe as a whole and everything we do in our ever shifting and changing culture.”

Staff settled into the center in May. Planning for the building started in 2010, and construction took about 18 months.

The tribe celebrated the Natural Resources Department Building with an open house in late September. Speakers shared memories and hopes for the future. Songs set to a deep, steady drumbeat honored the tribe’s history.

The previous natural resources facility was located in a farmhouse low in the valley, where it was plagued by pests and flooding. The new center is perched uphill, surrounded by trees with a view of the valley visible between the branches. It’s off I-5 at Exit 210, down 6th Avenue near the tribe’s police station.

“When I showed up this was a pile of logs, steel and rocks taller than my head,” Architect Brooks Middleton said. The open lot near the police station had been used to store supplies like lumber and metal, but nothing was built on it. He followed deer trails through the area and realized it would be an ideal location, outside of the floodplain and away from the mice. The tribe’s Natural Resources Department Building Committee sealed the deal over a campfire at the site.

Features of the new building echo traditional structures, Middleton said. Designers looked at reconstructions of Native American housing to inspire their modern take on tribal architecture.

Detailing on exterior walls is made to look like cedar plank siding, and most of the interior lighting is natural, with expansive windows and skylights that pull illumination from outside. Load-bearing beams are outside of the building rather than in the walls. The steel used to make the columns is the same material used for train boxcars, which means they should gain a natural rust coat and can survive the cold, wet weather, said Josh Baldwin with Quantum Construction, Inc.

The building also is meant to be energy-efficient and low-maintenance. It should last about a century without any major projects, said Walt Bendt, superintendent of Quantum Construction.

Natural lighting cuts down on the tribe’s energy bill, as does geothermal heat. The building has its own well and septic system. Native flora is planted in rain gardens outside to help with drainage.

“It’s kind of neat because the whole thing is self-contained,” Middleton said. “It doesn’t need to be connected to anything outside.”

A drive-through garage and mudroom allow employees to shed wet, muddy gear after studying the river. There’s a conference room, a reception area and a number of bright, open offices. The water quality lab, which used to be in a repurposed garage, is a large blue, gray and white space with custom equipment to test water samples and examine fish.

Guests were impressed by the new building.

“Being in government in the most beautiful part of the world, one of our biggest challenges is to balance our built environment with our natural environment,” Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said. “This building does that.”

Stanley Speaks, regional director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, remembered visiting a Stillaguamish Tribe fish hatchery three decades ago. It was essentially a shack, with bathtubs full of fish and water.

“If you went back a few years, you never would have known this would be here,” he said. “What a beautiful way to go.”

Kari Bray:; 425-339-3439.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)
How to donate to the family of Ariel Garcia

Everett police believe the boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, stabbed him repeatedly and left his body in Pierce County.

A ribbon is cut during the Orange Line kick off event at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood

Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

Everett mall renderings from Brixton Capital. (Photo provided by the City of Everett)
Topgolf at the Everett Mall? Mayor’s hint still unconfirmed

After Cassie Franklin’s annual address, rumors circled about what “top” entertainment tenant could be landing at Everett Mall.

Foamy brown water, emanating a smell similar to sewage, runs along the property line of Lisa Jansson’s home after spilling off from the DTG Enterprises property on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Snohomish, Washington. Jansson said the water in the small stream had been flowing clean and clear only a few weeks earlier. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Neighbors of Maltby recycling facility assert polluted runoff, noise

For years, the DTG facility has operated without proper permits. Residents feel a heavy burden as “watchdogs” holding the company accountable.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Stanwood man gets federal prison for selling fentanyl on dark web

In 2013, Christerfer Frick was sentenced to nine years for trafficking drugs. He began selling online upon his release in 2020.

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

Dan Templeman speaks during a forum lead by The Daily Herald on housing affordability at the Mukilteo Library on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
At Herald forum, experts affirm Housing First model, despite downsides

At the Mukilteo Library, panelists discussed drug-contaminated housing and lengthy cleanup efforts in Snohomish County.

Molbak's Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak's)
Molbak’s, former Woodinville garden store, hopes for a comeback

Molbak’s wants to create a “hub” for retailers and community groups at its former Woodinville store. But first it must raise $2.5 million.

A fire at a home near Alderwood Mall sent one neighbor and one firefighter to the hospital. (Photo provided by South County Fire)
Officials: Residents returned to burning Lynnwood home to rescue dogs

Five people and six dogs were displaced in the Thursday afternoon house fire, according to South County Fire.

Featuring a pink blush over a yellow background, WA 64 combines qualities of Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink (aka Pink Lady) for a firm, crisp, sweet and tart bite. A naming contest for the new apple runs through May 5, 2024. (Photo provided by Washington State University)
Hey Honeycrisp, this new breed of apple needs a name

Enter a naming contest for WA 64, a hybrid apple with the same baby daddy as Cosmic Crisp.

Police respond to a wrong way crash Thursday night on Highway 525 in Lynnwood after a police chase. (Photo provided by Washington State Department of Transportation)
Lynnwood woman, 83, killed in wrong-way crash following police pursuit

Deputies said they were chasing a man, 37, south on Highway 525 when he swerved into northbound lanes, killing an oncoming driver.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.