Northwest NEWS

August 7, 2000

Front Page

Soccer field will be searched for more artifacts

Eventual goal is to 'play ball' there
   by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   FALL CITY‹King County and the Snoqualmie Tribe have finally agreed on a plan to allow archaeologists to further investigate the site of a planned soccer field where Native American artifacts were found late this spring. The ancient items were found by an archaeologist working with crews who were building the field, located just outside of town. The future of the site as a soccer field had been undecided while tribal and county representatives considered the ramifications of the find.
   At a meeting last Thursday, tribal and county officials agreed to let archaeologists continue to "excavate some of the hot spots‹areas where the artifacts had been concentrated," said Tribal Councilmember Ray Mullen. "We are trying our best to get all the agencies involved to let us bring in fill to cover the site when we are done. Our eventual vision is to have this as a soccer field."
   Mullen said the agencies have agreed that it is necessary to get the work done as soon as possible.
   "With our Seattle weather, we need to do the excavation soon," said Mullen.
   The field was being built by the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer Association, using a County Youth Sports Facility Grant from King County Parks, which owns the property.
   "We are fairly sure that there won't be a soccer field there this year," said King County Parks Department spokesman Al Dams. "But we are committed to the soccer project...we haven't given it up...we will either use that site or find another location."
   Because the property was a known archaeological site, the county agreed to have an archaeologist there while the ground was being excavated, said Dams. Northwest Archaeological Associates contracted to do the job.
   Dams said evidence of a Native American firepit was unearthed as crews began clearing brush and weeds from the property late this spring. Work was stopped after the archaeologist found pieces of charcoal, burned rock and flint.
   Dams said the county had considered three options‹covering over the field or excavating it partially or totally.
   King County Executive spokesperson Elaine Kraft said the agencies agreed last week to move forward with the excavation, but that the county is still checking on the legal ramifications of the proposal to add fill to cover the property.
   "We want to make sure this gets done to everybody's satisfaction," she said. "A problem with filling in the site is that it may be in the floodway and we are checking with our legal department and DDES to see if it (covering up the site) requires further study. But we are doing all we can to make it happen."
   Kraft said county staff want to find a way to get the work done as quickly as possible, given the nature of the site.
   "We want to have artifact recovery done, bring in the cap and plant it within the growing season," said Kraft. "We are optimistic for next year. Out of respect for the Tribe's wishes, and the fact it is an environmentally sensitive site, we need to do it right."
   Mullen said he can't see why the Tribe and county couldn't get a permit to cover the field if it benefits everyone involved.
   "It's not too often we get to save a site and have a soccer field, with the approval of the Tribe, as well," he said.