At the front desk inside the Eagles Aerie 2308 in Puyallup, a flyer sits, promoting the group’s upcoming Rock N’ Rod Car Show, which benefits the Jim Samuelson scholarship for the Puyallup School District.
To the right is a community book exchange, encouraging readers to take one and leave one behind.
In the midst of an ongoing battle with Sound Transit over the future of their lot, the Eagles are trying to stay focus on their No. 1 mission — helping their community.
And with the group reaching its 79th anniversary this year, Eagles representative Alan Whipple said that it’s been the mission for the members for decades.
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“A lot of folks have been here forever,” Whipple said. “It’s about the community stuff that they do.”
A lot of folks have been here forever. It’s about the community stuff that they do.
Alan Whipple, Puyallup Eagles spokesperson
But it’s a mission that will only get more difficult as Sound Transit took legal action last month toward condemning the Eagles building at 202 Fifth Street NW in downtown Puyallup, which sits along the railroad tracks.
The petition, filed July 20, asks for an order that would allow Sound Transit to take control of the property as part of its $60 million Puyallup Station Improvements project. After voters approved funding for Puyallup Station improvements in 2008, Sound Transit identified the Eagles property in 2014 as a place to build a 500-stall garage.
Since then, Sound Transit has been in negotiations with the Eagles over the value of the property and compensation for relocation of the Eagles. Sound Transit delivered an appraised value offer letter to the Eagles on Nov. 29, 2016, and a final offer letter on Feb. 28, 2017, but did not receive a response, said Sound Transit spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham.
The problem lies in securing a new building with the appropriate size for the Eagles without having to pay a mortgage, said Whipple.
It’s really hard to find a property of this size. There’s just not a lot available.
“It’s really hard to find a property of this size,” he said. “There’s just not a lot available.”
Discussions with other members made it clear that the Eagles want to stay in the Puyallup Valley to keep close ties with their community.
“We’re hoping this will open the door to negotiations,” Whipple said.
The legal action is the start of the condemnation process, but Cunningham added that Sound Transit negotiations with the Eagles are not over.
“We would continue to have discussion with the Eagles to try to reach an agreement,” she said.
We would continue to have discussion with the Eagles to try to reach an agreement.
Rachelle Cunningham, Sound Transit public information officer
If Sound Transit and the Eagles are not able to reach an agreement together, the court will, she added.
Sound Transit plans to begin construction on the project in 2019, with an opening date in 2021. Cunningham said everything is currently on track.
For now, the Eagles remain busy their community events, including the Rock N’ Rod Car Show on Saturday (Aug. 5), hosted in the Eagles lot.
Whipple said the Eagles want to continue doing what they can for the community, and with 3,000 members, they are the second largest Fraternal Order of the Eagles group on the West Coast.