Barge brings home from reservation to Whidbey

One person’s loss is another’s gain, which means there was one happy family Wednesday when a barge brought a fine, two-story house to the shores of Whidbey Island at Mutiny Bay.

With their summer home floating in the background in Mutiny Bay

One person’s loss is another’s gain, which means there was one happy family Wednesday when a barge brought a fine, two-story house to the shores of Whidbey Island at Mutiny Bay.

The house was offloaded and spent the night at the public parking lot at Mutiny Bay, and the next day was moved to its final resting place on a lot on East Mutiny Lane.

From there the Schinnerer family, including Mike and Annie and their two children, Kailey, 10, and Teige, 7, can enjoy island life along with a stunning view of Mutiny Bay, Admiralty Inlet and sunsets over the Olympics.

Mike Schinnerer purchased the house after the owner was forced by the Tulalip Tribes to remove it from reservation property. Leases for lots on which 24 waterfront homes had sat for decades expired and the tribes refused to renew them as they wanted to reclaim the land and return it to its natural state.

Most of the houses were torn down and sold for scrap, but two were in good enough shape to sell if the purchaser moved them.

Schinnerer jumped at the chance to purchase a two-story house with a balcony, five bedrooms and more than 3,000 square feet of living space.

“We love it here and it’s a great fit for our lot — perfect,” he said.

They had a mobile home on their vacation property but moved it out to make room for the house.

Since he works for a software company in Seattle, the family will continue to spend most of their time at their Issaquah home, but they’re looking forward to spending much more time on Whidbey.

“It’s beautiful here,” he said.

And they’re already happy with the house.

“It’s exactly the layout we would build,” said Annie Schinnerer. The couple estimate they were able to purchase the house and move it from the reservation near Marysville for 40 percent of the cost of building a similar home on their lot.

A moving company called Nickels handled the project. They planned to pick up one more house at the reservation and bring it to Clinton, according to the Schinnerers.

It wasn’t all joy and happiness, however. Annie Schinnerer thought of all the people who had to abandon their homes on the reservation.

“All those houses demolished — it’s really sad,” she said, adding she was happy her family could save one of them.

According to an article in the Everett Herald, two dozen families had to tear down or otherwise remove their houses from Mission Beach when 50-year leases expired. Most of the families paid to have their houses and cabins torn down by an excavator, salvaging what they could. The deadline was the end of March.

Now that the houses are gone, the tribes can begin restoration. An Indian woman quoted by the Herald said, “It’s ancestral land. It’s a very important cultural area to the tribe.”

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