Coquille Tribe awaits next step in bid for off-reservation casino

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

The Coquille Tribe of Oregon is waiting on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to move its casino land-into-trust application forward.

The tribe plans to build the Cedars at Bear Creek, a Class II facility, on 2.42 acres in Medford. The site is about 170 miles from the Mill Casino, the tribe's Class III facility in North Bend.

Though the site is not on the reservation, the tribe is not pursuing the casino under the two-part determination provisions of theIndian Gaming Regulatory Act. Instead the Coquilles are seeking to qualify for an exception in Section 20 of the law 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 BIA has prepared a scoping report and could issue a draft environmental impact statement by the end of this year. A final EIS could be issued in the spring or summer of 2016, according to the anticipated schedule. The record of decision would come sometime after that.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe opposes the application. The tribe's Seven Feathers Casino Resort is about 70 miles from Medford.

Officials in Medford also have raised concerns but they have not said whether they will fight the application if its approved.

"We don’t have the final say, and so far we’ve had no say," council member Dick Gordon said at a public meeting on Thursday, The Medford Mail-Tribune reported.

Get the Story:
Council bolsters legal standing on casino (The Medford Mail-Tribune 10/2)

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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Oregon tribes continue battle over new Class II gaming facility (3/12)
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