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Yakima Valley Economy Getting Major Boost From Settlement Money

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It is possibly the biggest boost the Yakima Valley’s economy has ever seen.

The long-awaited checks under the Salazar Agreement gave Yakama Tribal Members more cash to spend. Payments were distributed in mid-October and registered Yakama Tribal Members received thousands of dollars each, and they are keeping that money local. The agreement was a result of a series of lawsuits against the government. Tribes across the nation accused officials of mismanaging tribal resources including timbers and minerals.

H & H Furniture Owner Mark Peterson tells KNDO News that he works long days just to keep his store from running empty.

“We generally carry about 30 different sets of upholstery sofas,” said Peterson. “We were down to two on Saturday so we keep rebuilding our stocks. But it stays busy so it’s not really slowing down.”

But he is certainly not complaining. Ever since Yakama Tribal Members received their chunk of the $188 million settlement with the federal government sales around the Yakima Valley have gone through the roof. Peterson said cash sales are up more than 500 percent for his business.

“This has really been a big help for our company,” said Peterson. “As well as I’m sure many others and the county with tax revenues.”

Rose’s Native Designs located in the center of Downtown Toppenish has seen quite an increase in sales as well.

“Mentioning that they wanted to keep their money local and spend local,” said Co-Owner Ralph Sampson Jr.

Why has all this money come back around?

“It comes from within the people,” said Sampson. “They live here, and then they want to share with their neighbors.”

Many business owners predict the county will also be pleased with recent sales tax revenue.

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