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Group files suit, hoping court can halt music venue

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

The Enumclaw-based Citizens for Safety and Environment aren't about to give up.

The grassroots organization's years-long battle against the White River Amphitheatre took another legal turn last week when CSE filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court aimed at stopping the project.

The amphitheater operator, Clear Channel Entertainment, is planning on opening the music venue this summer. The amphitheater sits along state Route 164 between Enumclaw and Auburn.

The CSE suit challenges a recent decision by the Washington State Department of Transportation to issue access permits along the highway. Those are necessary for amphitheater traffic to enter and exit the grounds.

In its suit, CSE claims the Department of Transportation violated the law in failing to prepare an adequate Environmental Impact Statement. The suit claims traffic counts used by DOT grossly underestimate the potential traffic flow, and falsely claim all concerts will begin after 7 p.m.

Also, CSE claims the access permits granted by DOT will undermine the ability of state Route 164 to safely handle traffic loads.

In its suit, CSE asks that the DOT's access permits be rescinded and, further, that the EIS be deemed inadequate.

"The city of Auburn and CSE provided (the DOT) with all the information it needed to recognize that the amphitheater traffic will overwhelm the area road system," said Brent Warwick, CSE co-president. He alleges DOT decided a course of action, then "did whatever it needed to do to justify it."

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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