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Economic Impacts of New Casino in Airway Heights

It’s been ten years in the making, but the Spokane tribe has won approval from Governor Inslee for its Casino in Airway Heights. The tribe says it will be an economic boon that will bring thousands of new jobs, but not all are happy with the announcement. 

The projects proponents point to the $400 million expected to be spent to build the project over 10 years. Jamie SiJohn is a spokeswoman for the Spokane Tribe Economic Project , who says they estimate the new project will bring 5000 jobs to the Spokane  region

“[A] grand total approximately 500 jobs.That includes construction jobs and operational and management jobs. Quite frankly when we say 500 jobs, that’s not tribal jobs, because the tribe is not that large.”

County Commissioner Al French is one who fears the new project puts the future of Fairchild Air Force base into jeopardy "The future mission for tanker bases is the new 46A tanker. The last round for citing that tanker is this year, and one of the things they are worried about is bases that have encroachment. So this decision by the governor could jeopardize our ability to maintain a future mission for Fairchild Air Force base, which means we out that asset at risk and could have a devastating economic impact on this community.”

Fairchild Air Force base is the largest employer in the Spokane area. Commissioner French says the base represents 1.3 billion dollars of economic activity per year for the region.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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