Remlinger Farms concerts spark controversy in Carnation, Wash.

CARNATION, Wash. - Remlinger Farms, a nostalgic place known for its pumpkin picking and family farm activities, is set to transform into a concert venue Friday as Grammy-award winning Portugal, The Man takes the stage.

While this news sparks excitement for some, it also generates concern and controversy among locals.

A small group of citizens is voicing their discontent, alleging that King County gave Remlinger Farms the green light without adequate public review.

Members of the Carnation Community Alliance complain their small town simply does not have the bandwidth to accommodate as many as 200,000 concertgoers, highlighting traffic concerns, particularly along Tolt Hill — a narrow thoroughfare with one-way in, one-way out.

According to Seattle Theatre Group, the venue's capacity is up to 6,000 per show.

Carnation City Manager Ana Cortez, however, radiates enthusiasm about the prospect of world-class performances in the community, and the economic benefits to local businesses.

"We are talking about major artists that toured the world, and they are now coming to Carnation," Cortez told FOX 13 Seattle. "We are so excited, I’m getting chills just talking to you about that."

Jules Hughes, representing the Carnation Community Alliance, dissents, calling it a "cart before the horse" scenario. She alleges a lack of transparency and environmental assessment in the permitting process. "We’re a tiny town, with tiny rural roads," Hughes added.

She also says the public knew nothing about this until it was "coming out in the newspaper," describing her efforts to alert neighbors and garner support through a petition which has already garnered more than 100 signatures.

"It's an issue other rural communities are also dealing with where its like a commercial creep onto AG land," Hughes added.

The debate raises larger issues of rural development and community identity. Cortez asserts that Carnation must evolve while preserving its agricultural character.

"We are in King County. We can either fall behind and disappear, or we can reinvent ourselves," she said.

As the city observes tonight's event, it's preparing to reconvene next week to evaluate and potentially adjust its approach for the summer's remaining concerts.


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