Monday, July 25, 2011

Letter to Fort Lewis Requesting Land acquisiton information.


JBLM Commander                                                                                           July 25, 2011
P.O. Box 339500
Mail Stop 1AA
JBLM, Wa. 98433

Dear Sir,

It has come to our attention that the Nisqually Indian Tribe has proposed to build a ‘Regional Jail Facility’ in Olympia, Washington. The Nisqually Tribe has a proposal that states it will house up to 277 inmates in Phase 1 and up to 576 inmates in Phase II.  The Nisqually Indian Tribe recently acquired the land where they are planning to build this facility by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Fort Lewis) 179.14 Acres, more or less. This acquisition appears to have taken 10 years and 4 acts of Congress to go through. There is a bill in the 108th Congress reflecting this information. The Federal Register states that the land was officially acquired on September 14, 2010.
On June 9, 2011 a citizen, Mr. Capra, from our county asked Thurston County for public records regarding this land acquisition. The public records inspection and copying requested information specifically regarding Thurston County tax identification number #21833000000.  As of July 25, 2011, Thurston County and specifically the Board of County Commissioners, have yet to provide us with any information regarding this tax parcel number.  Since the tax parcel above refers in our county records as a 640 acres parcel we do not understand how our county records do not reflect somehow the split of the 179 acres that now have gone to the Nisqually tribe. Should there not be some recorded paperwork showing how Fort Lewis re zoned or allocated only 179 acres of this 640 acre parcel? Is the Nisqually Tribe interested in the remaining 461 acres off of the original 640 acre parcel?

It has been documented that this land acquisition also involves Bonneville Power Administration. There is a Nisqually Transmission Line Relocation Project that refers to an easement expiring from a parcel nearby. The Nisqually Tribe contacted ‘someone’ in Fort Lewis about possibly purchasing a County parcel to house the relocated lines which they subsequently would return to Fort Lewis in lieu of this above questioned 179 acres. What property was possibly traded for this land acquisition? All of the information we have been able to obtain so far has been partial and incomplete.

In an environmental assessment presented to the Nisqually Indian Tribe from Geo Engineers from July 1, 2010, it states that “The Tribe has also held discussions with Fort Lewis to explore the possibility of locating the proposed project on Fort Lewis property in close proximity to the existing tribal facilities, but no appropriate site was identified.” Could you substantiate this claim and support is with what studies you have that eliminated alternatives?

Please let us know if you can assist us and release any and all public records relating to this information.  Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Justine Schmidt
(360) 239-4898 

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