An Incomplete History: The Snoqualmie Casino Protests

How Meat Loaf brokered peace between Snoqualmie Casino and its neighbors.

Nov. 6, 2008The Snoqualmie Casino opens just east of Seattle, fulfilling the need for a peaceful place to look at the gorgeous peaks and valleys of the Cascades while slot machines buzz and flash in the background.

Nov. 7, 2008 Jessica Simpson headlines the first indoor concert at the Snoqualmie Casino's ballroom. By all account, there was no widespread rioting or tossing of tuna cans.

July 2009 Snoqualmie Casino launches an outdoor concert series in the Mountain View Plaza adjacent to the casino, featuring a variety of national touring acts (ZZ Top, Rob Thomas, etc.). Seating close to 2,000, the concerts are a really comfortable, fairly intimate outdoor experience. "There has been a pent-up demand for entertainment on the Eastside, and we are here delivering top-tier entertainers with state-of-the-art production," says Matt Gallagher, vice president of marketing at Snoqualmie Casino, via e-mail. The first summer of concerts produces a few noise complaints from the neighbors in the adjacent valley. "Based on them," says Gallagher, "we made some adjustments to the setup to include adding additional seating and bleachers to assist in absorbing sound."

July 15, 2010 Yes and Peter Frampton co-headline the Mountain View Plaza to a sold-out crowd. A small group gathers at the casino gates to protest the concerts, but their air horns barely break the bubble of nostalgia surrounding the venue. One of the concertgoers is Snoqualmie's Don Baglen, who lives about a mile away from the casino. "If you're inside in this hot weather and trying to watch a movie or read a book, you have to close your doors and your windows just to be able to concentrate," he says.

August 2010 While no additional protests have occurred since the Yes/Frampton show, neighborhood residents insist that the casino isn't remedying the situation. Their demands include taking the concerts inside or rearranging the outdoor venue's setup. "If they want to be a good neighbor, they should just bring all of their concerts indoors, or point the speakers back toward I-90 instead of into the valley," says Baglen. The casino says realigning the outdoor concert area won't be easy.

The casino plans to "review the 2010 season after the Three Dog Night concert on September 2, withplans/improvements happening sometime after," says Gallagher. Neighbors hope Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" will be the last song to waft through their backyards and drown out the latest Michael Bay film.

Aug. 15, 2010 The neighborhood comes together. Meat Loaf's set goes down without incident, and the general feeling among the crowd is "We would do anything for quiet, but we won't protest Meat."

Aug. 24, 2010 Huey Lewis and the News bring "Stuck With You" and other favorites to Snoqualmie.

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