Coquille Tribe’s application for casino project in Medford rejected

NORTH BEND, Ore. — The Bureau of Indian Affairs has denied the Coquille Tribe’s application for a casino project in Medford according to the Tribal chairman.

In a press release Thursday night, Coquille Tribal Chairman Brenda Meade criticized a Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decision to end consideration of the tribe’s application to take land into a trust for a casino project in south Medford. According to the Tribe, the decision came in a letter on May 27th from the principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, John Tahsuda. Meade said this rejection ignores the government’s own established procedures.

By ending the normal, fact-based process for making trust land decisions, Tahsuda has silenced the many people in the community who are supporting our efforts,” she said. “He also is denying our local officials the opportunity to express their growing appreciation for the tribe’s work in the community and their interest in pursuing economic development on this property. They all were promised that their voices would be heard every step of the way.”

According to the press release, the decision process would normally include a public comment period and an Environmental Impact Statement. The tribe said it has pursued an EIS approval since 2012, but it has faced repeated delays by federal officials and opposition.

The project known as The Cedars at Bear Creek would be a Class II casino on 2.42 acres of commercial property in south Medford. Class II gaming involves video gaming devices, but no table games like blackjack or dice. According to the Coquille Tribe, the casino site is surrounded by several tribal parcels that the tribe hopes to develop for other commercial uses.

The Coquille Tribal Council will determine the tribe’s next steps.

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