Tribe takes over security on Pioneer Way project

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is now handling security for the enclosed archaeological site on SE Pioneer Way.

Security at the site is one of the requirements specified in the city’s emergency archaeology permit through the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. The tribe is to be paid up to $25,000 for guarding the area during the evening hours and during the day on the weekends.

Initially, a private security firm was hired to do the work at an hourly rate of $45. Their contract was not to exceed $50,0000. According to Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik, there were some “gaps” in the service the company provided and when it came time to renew the contract, the city instead decided to partner with the Swinomish.

“The tribes are more interested and participatory,” Slowik said. “As it turns out, they are also more affordable and I think they’ll do a better job.”

The Swinomish began performing security services downtown on Sept. 14. Under the contract terms, tribal security is being paid $13 an hour. The city is also covering indirect costs, benefits at 1.4 times the hourly rate, and vehicle mileage.

Oak Harbor’s municipal code empowers the mayor to sign contracts under $30,000 without the city council’s approval. However, the contract will go before the city council anyway Tuesday, Oct. 4. Slowik said he’s trying to keep them as informed as possible, even when it’s not technically required.

This will be the second contract signed with the tribe. In September, the city council agreed to reimburse the tribe for monitoring and archaeological services — also a requirement of the city’s permit. While the agreement is not to exceed $160,000, the actual work is expected to cost about $145,000.


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