Cow Creek Band ties casino layoffs to economy and rival tribe

The Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, Oregon. Photo from Facebook

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe announced 93 layoffs at its gaming facility in Oregon.

The tribe said the Seven Feathers Casino Resort has not fully recovered from the 2008 national economic recession. But a rival casino also poses a threat, officials said.

"It is unfortunate that a neighboring tribe, wrongfully trying to place a second casino 180 miles from their existing casino on the Coast, affects our employment base in such a negative way," Chairman Dan Courtney said in a press release, KOBI reported.

Artist's rendering of the Cedars at Bear Creek, a Class II facility proposed by the Coquille Tribe. Image from Facebook

Courtney is referring to the Coquille Tribe, whose leaders are planning to open a Class II facility in Medford, about 71 miles from the Seven Feathers Casino Resort. The Cedars at Bear Creek, however, could take years to open so it's not clear whether it poses an immediate risk to the Cow Creek Band.

Just last year, the Cow Creek Band offered to buy the 2.4-acre gaming site from the Coquille Tribe. At the time, KOBI reported the Crow Creek Band offered 110 percent of the purchase price.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is preparing an environmental impact statement for the Coquille casino. A public meeting is being held tonight on the tribe's land-into-trust application.

Generally, land placed in trust after 1988 can't be used for gaming. The Coquilles, however, are seeking an exception in Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that applies to tribes that were restored to federal recognition.

The tribe gained recognition through the Coquille Restoration Act in 1989. The law requires the BIA to place up to 1,000 acres in trust.

The tribe already operates the Mill Casino, a Class III facility. Medford is about 186 miles from that facility.

Get the Story:
Seven Feathers laying off 93 employees (KPIC 2/2)
Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe announces layoffs (The Medford Mail Tribune 2/3)
Since You Asked: Medford casino meeting is open to all (The Medford Mail Tribune 2/3)

Federal Register Notice:
Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Coquille Indian Tribe Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, City of Medford, Jackson County, Oregon (January 15, 2015)

Related Stories
City seeks role in review of Coquille Tribe's off-reservation casino (01/19)
Cow Creek Band offered to pay Coquille Tribe for gaming land (04/25)

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