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Port of Seattle and Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Sign MOA

Historic document paves way for collaboration on mutual interests and collaborative initiatives
June 29, 2023

The Port of Seattle and Muckleshoot Indian Tribal Government signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will expand their government-to-government relationship, including regular and structured communication between the leadership of both entities.  With this MOA, the Port and Muckleshoot will have a greater ability to collaborate on mutually agreed interests such as economic development, intergovernmental advocacy, education, and job training, fish and wildlife habitat restoration, and environmental stewardship. 

The MOA will also expand opportunities to collaborate on matters of regional significance, such as major transportation, infrastructure, economic development, and conservation projects.  Areas already identified of greatest interest for the shared focus include Elliott Bay, the Duwamish Estuary, Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay, Puget Sound, and the broader Salish Sea.  

“By signing the MOA, the Muckleshoot Tribal Government and the Port of Seattle have taken a major step from coexistence to collaboration,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman.  “Advancing a true government-to-government relationship with the Muckleshoot Tribe has been a long-term goal of mine because we have many areas of overlapping interests that can be best achieved by working together.  Our special relationship with the Tribe is critical to achieving our mission as a public agency.” 

“The MOA deepens what has been a positive working relationship the Tribe has enjoyed with the Port of Seattle for many years,” said Tribal Council Chair Jaison Elkins. “The Tribe looks forward to building on that relationship over the coming years as we collaborate on the many areas of interest we share.”

“The MOA marks a step forward in how we collaborate on the protection of treaty-reserved resources, cultural and archeological sites, and the environment,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Toshiko Hasegawa.  “By codifying our government-to-government coordination through this MOA, we embrace a more meaningful way of collaborating and communicating. It’s a recognition of our profound respect for tribal sovereignty and the work ahead to advance equity and environmental justice in our harbor.”

The MOA calls for the Port and Tribe to develop a work plan that identifies projects and initiatives intended to make progress towards sustainable co-existence on the land and waters of the region. To that end, the Port has committed to hiring a new Senior Manager of Tribal Relations that will oversee the work plan and further shared objectives.  

The MOA does not amend or supersede any previous legal agreements between the Muckleshoot Tribe and the Port of Seattle, or any other government agency. Rather, it creates an important structure to help ensure the long-term interests of the Port and Tribe which will benefit the entire region.   

 “The MOA helps focus our attention on mutually beneficial actions that we can take to promote commerce, community, and conservation – which is a win-win-win for our region,” concluded Commissioner Felleman.  

Photo caption: (Front row from left to right) Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck, Tribal Chair Jaison Elkins. (Back row from left to right) Tribal Council member Leeroy Courville, Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman, Tribal Council member Louie Ungaro, Port Commissioner Toshiko Hasegawa, Tribal Council Vice Chair Donny Stevenson, and Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins.


Peter McGraw | Port of Seattle Media Officer
(206) 787-3446 |

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