BIA holds public hearing on Coquille Tribe off-reservation casino

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

Supporters and opponents turned out for a public hearing on the off-reservation casino sought by the Coquille Tribe of Oregon.

The tribe filed a land-into-trust application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to use a 2.4-acre site in Medford for the Cedars at Bear Creek, a Class II facility.

“Today, we ask the federal government to uphold its promise to the Coquille people and to consider our trust land application on its merits," Chairwoman Brenda Meade said, Jefferson Public Radio reported.

Representatives of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe spoke in opposition. They fear the new development will hurt their Seven Feathers Casino Resort, about 70 miles away.

"The Coquille should not benefit from our loss," said Andrea Davis, the tribe's human resources director, The Medford Mail Tribune reported. The casino just eliminated 93 jobs on Monday, a decision attributed in part to the Coquille plan.

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:
Public weighs in on proposed Medford casino (The Medford Mail Tribune 2/4)
Opponents Blast Coquille Casino Proposal At Federal Hearing in Medford (Jefferson Public Radio 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
Cow Creek Band ties casino layoffs to economy and rival tribe (2/3)
City seeks role in review of Coquille Tribe's off-reservation casino (01/19)

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