BIA releases scoping report for Coquille Tribe Class II facility

Artist's rendering of the Cedars at Bear Creek in Medford, Oregon. Image from Coquille EIS

The Coquille Tribe continues to work on plans for a $26 million off-reservation casino in Medford, Oregon.

The tribe has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place 2.4 acres in trust for the $26 million Cedars at Bear Creek, a Class II facility. A scoping report was published this month an draft environmental impact statement is expected later this year.

"The purpose and need for the Proposed Action is to improve the economic status of the Coquille Tribal Government and promote its self-sufficiency so it can provide essential programs and services to its membership, including but not limited to health care, education resources, housing, social services, employment resources, public safety, utilities, cultural preservation, and environmental and natural resource management," the report states.

The city of Medford signed a memorandum of understanding with the BIA to participate in the process. Officials in Jackson County will consider whether to do the same at a meeting tomorrow, The Medford Mail Tribune reported.

The casino has been controversial in the city and the county. Some question whether the tribe can engage in gaming on the site in Medford.

Generally, land placed in trust after 1988 can't be used for casinos. 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 Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, Oregon. Photo from Facebook

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe is opposed to the new development. The Seven Feathers Casino Resort, a Class III facility, sits about an hour away in Canyonville and the tribe has blamed layoffs there on the Coquille project.

The Coquille Tribe has welcomed the competition. The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians just opened the $15 million Three Rivers Casino in Coos Bay, less than three miles from the Medford site.

Get the Story:
Jackson County to help analyze impacts of proposed Medford casino (The Medford Mail Tribune 6/30)
Since You Asked: Is the casino property for sale? (The Medford Mail Tribune 6/30)

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)

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