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Swinomish Begins Construction of Hotel, Gas Station

The late Chester Cayou Sr., a longtime advocate of economic development on the Swinomish reservation, would be pleased.

For years, the Swinomish senator advocated for construction of a hotel next to the Swinomish Northern Lights Casino, Swinomish, Washington. A hotel would provide jobs, bolster the local economy and make Swinomish’s casino and entertainment complex more competitive in the region.

Cayou died August 27 at the age of 88, but what he worked for is coming to fruition.

In one whirlwind weekend, Swinomish had a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Chevron station April 27, blessed a new women’s shelter on April 28, and had a groundbreaking ceremony for a 100-room hotel next to the casino April 29. The hotel is expected to be completed in April 2012. Brian Porter, a member of the Swinomish Senate, said Swinomish has made the final debt payment on its hotel in Ocean Shores, on the Pacific Coast, freeing up capital for the casino hotel project.

Nearby, construction continues on three striking pavilions, designed to look like woven cedar hats, on the landing site for Canoe Journey 2011, a gathering of Northwest Coast Native nations. Swinomish will host the Canoe Journey July 25 – 31. Cayou’s teachings were adopted as the theme – “Loving, Caring and Sharing Together.” Cayou’s granddaughter, Aurelia Washington, is coordinator of this year’s Journey.

In addition to the casino, Swinomish owns another Chevron station, a seaside RV park, and a fish company.