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Tribes celebrate opening of gas station
TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes Chevron, located at 2832 116th St. NE, celebrated its opening this month.
After a private traditional blessing, the tribally owned gas station opened for business Oct. 9, with Tribal Board Secretary Marlin Fryberg Jr. receiving the first pump of gas.
The rest of the Tribal Board of Directors attended at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the gas station Oct. 16.
Tribal Board member Glen Gobin sees the gas station as ideally positioned to take advantage of traffic to and from both Quil Ceda Village and the Tulalip Resort Casino and Hotel. He noted that the current eight-pump, 16-dispensing-unit fueling station is set to be joined by a full-service 1,000-square-foot convenience store and extra pumps next year. He added that the 20-cent-per-gallon discount for Tribal members will allow them to share in the success of the Tribes.
Tribal Board Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. cited the gas station as an example of the Tribes’ ongoing economic development, “which didn’t happen overnight.” Tribal Board member Stan Jones Sr. echoed Sheldon’s assessment, recalling how the Tribes only had three employees 43 years ago, as opposed to the thousands of Tribal employees now.
“We’ve come a long way,” Jones said.
Tribal Board Treasurer Chuck James acknowledged that the Tribes had considered whether the current recession was the best time to go ahead with the gas station, which had been a goal of the Tribes for many years, before they decided that it was indeed the right time to take advantage of this opportunity.
The contractors and subcontractors who were thanked included Pacific Northern Environmental and American Energy, and the Tulalip Tribal member-owned Sheldon Enterprises, Reece Trucking and Excavating, and Native Grounds Landscaping, as well as the Native American-owned Orca Electrical, Gagnon Masonry and Duce Construction.
Quil Ceda Village Events Manager Teresa Meece expects the Tribes to save money by fueling their own fleet of nearly 100 vehicles. By the time the gas station is complete, with a possible car wash, its staff could include more than 30 full- and part-time employees.