Tribe protests Arlington auto yard plan

By Brian Kelly

Herald Writer

ARLINGTON — The site for a controversial auto storage yard in south Arlington is actually the location of an ancient Indian village and burial ground, leaders of the Stillaguamish Tribe said Monday.

Members of the tribe are planning to protest at a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday night.

"The tribe is concerned that this is a known tribal site," said Eddie Goodridge, secretary of the tribal council. The land is sacred to the tribe and the location of a warrior’s village that was used to defend the tribe’s inner village on Kent Prairie.

"It was a village and it was a meeting ground," Goodridge said. "It was where the warriors would meet before they would go off for a hunt or any type of battle."

The tribe has asked Arlington to withhold the permit for the auto storage yard, worried that Indian remains and artifacts could be disturbed if the development is approved.

The Stillaguamish are also concerned that development may hurt the environment, add traffic to already-burdened roads in south Arlington, and negatively impact nearby property owners, Goodridge said.

Controversial since first proposed, the 40-acre storage yard would be used as a temporary home for vehicles that insurance companies deem "totaled." Later, the vehicles would be auctioned to auto dismantlers, rebuilders and used-vehicle dealers. It would be built on former farmland near 51st Avenue NE that is already zoned for industrial uses.

Copart, an auto recycler that has more than 80 facilities in 36 states, including four in Washington, would operate the storage yard.

Don Fitzpatrick Jr., the owner of the site for proposed auto storage yard, was not immediately available for comment Monday night. Developers of the project have said earlier that numerous safeguards would be implemented to protect water quality and the storage yard would not damage the environment.

The hearing on the proposal starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the meeting room of the Roosevelt Building, 315 N. French St.

You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to kelly@heraldnet.com.

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