MEDFORD, Ore. —We’ve been telling you about the Coquille Tribe’s latest effort to build a casino in south Medford. Now the city is taking the stage on the proposed project.
The Coquille Indian Tribe currently operates the Mill Casino in North Bend. It’s been pursuing the possibility of opening a casino in Medford for the last 10 years.
“What that would require legally speaking is for the land to be placed into trust what that means is basically giving it sovereign designation which is part of establishing a casino under Oregon law,” said city attorney Eric Mitton.
The tribe hopes to remodel its south Medford bowling alley, Roxy Ann Lanes into a 30,000-square-foot gaming facility. The proposal includes a 16,000-square-foot gaming floor with 650 gaming machines, a bar, and support services.
“We’re working on analyzing what we think would make this city whole in terms of services provided to sovereign land and the financial consequences that coincidence with that,” said Mitton.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has come out with a 250-page environmental impact statement on the development. City attorney Eric Mitton summarized the impact statement, along with different alternatives highlighted Thursday night for the city council.
“It’s really just 4 different options related to the Coquille Tribe and gaming,” said Mitton.
Those include a casino located on an undeveloped property in Phoenix, expansion of the existing North Bend Casino and no additional casino development. Impacts in police and fire, transportation, stormwater, building safety, and planning impacts were also discussed.
Members of the Coquille and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians were in the room and listened in on the study session.
“I don’t approve of the casino at all I was born and raised here and I don’t want to see it put other tribes out of business, it will affect our tribe as well as Klamath Rain Rock and I still stand for one tribe one casino,” said Terri Hansen with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe.
“This is about this local economy this local community and the benefit to it, I understand another tribe or business may see it as competition but that’s the nature of our market to compete,” said Greg Lemhouse with the Coquille Indian Tribe.
Mitton says ultimately the federal government will decide if the land is placed into trust, not the city. The federal government will accept written comments through Thursday, February 23rd.
Here’s how you can submit your comments on the environmental impact. Send your emails to [email protected] Be sure to put deIs comments Coquille Tribe Medford Gaming Facility Project in the subject line. Comments have to be submitted within 45 days after the EPA publishes its notice of availability in the federal register.
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