Tribal Partnerships

There are three federally-recognized Indian Tribes in Snohomish County: the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, the Stillaguamish Tribe, and the Tulalip Tribes. Snohomish County recognizes that a strong government-to-government relationship with each Tribe is essential to address issues that are important to our residents and to move forward in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. Only through collaboration can we face both challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Snohomish County values its partnership with each Tribe and is committed to supporting tribal efforts to build ever more resilient and connected communities.

Coordinated Planning with Snohomish County Tribes

In 2013, Snohomish County and the Tulalip Tribes adopted a Memorandum of Understanding (2013 MOU) (PDF) establishing a process for coordinated long-range planning and information sharing. The MOU authorized each government to form a workgroup tasked with developing a work plan to implement the MOU, reduce land use conflicts, and facilitate effective land use planning on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

The MOU anticipates that the Snohomish County Council (County Council) will consider recommended policy changes to the General Policy Plan (GPP) of the Snohomish County Growth Management Act Comprehensive Plan (GMACP) as a part of the larger 2016 County-Initiated GMACP Amendment process.

During the course of developing recommended changes to the GPP, the MOU Workgroup drafted goals and policies specific to land use on the Tulalip Indian Reservation but also developed goals and policies addressing culture, communication, and coordination that apply broadly to all three federally-recognized Indian Tribes within Snohomish County.

Process for Adopting Changes

The MOU Workgroup's policy recommendations were packaged into a new, draft Tribal Chapter to the GPP comprising the "GPP9-Tribes" proposal. PDS staff briefed the Planning Commission on the GPP9 proposal in two parts:

Directly following the June 28th briefing, the Planning Commission held a public hearing to receive public testimony on the GPP9 proposal. Following public testimony, commissioners deliberated and made a recommendation to the County Council (PDF) to approve the proposed Tribal Chapter with the exception of Policies TC 5.D.2 through 5.D.5 related to:

  • Using interlocal agreements to administer permitting and code enforcement programs; and
  • Establishing a consultation process to discuss jurisdictional disputes.

The Snohomish County Executive transmitted recommended Comprehensive Plan policy amendments to the County Council on the GPP9 Tribes proposal for legislative action on September 1, 2016. The proposed amendments were not formally introduced during the Council Planning Committee meeting for legislative action at this time. Therefore, no public hearing or action was scheduled on this specific proposal. Since the County can only take final action once per year to amend the Comprehensive Plan (which occurred concerning other matters before the Council on October 12, 2016), no further action will occur this year on these amendments. PDS is very grateful for the oral and written testimony received on this important subject. If a revised proposal is added to a future County-Initiated Comprehensive Plan Amendment cycle, PDS will update this website as new information becomes available.