The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe owns and operates the Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, Oregon. Photo: Maya West

Coquille Tribe brushes off criticism from rival amid long wait for land decision

The Coquille Tribe isn't worried about a rival's effort to derail a long-awaited casino decision in Oregon.

The tribe started the land-into-trust process for the 2.42-acre site in Medford more than four years ago. Plans call for a Class II gaming facility, to be known as Cedars at Bear Creek, on the land.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians has long opposed the proposal out of fear it will impact its Seven Feathers Casino Resort. But after The Medford Mail Tribune reported about the Coquille Tribe's purchases of additional land near the site, Chairman Dan Courtney asked for a meeting with the Trump administration.

"It appears that Coquille has grossly misrepresented to federal, state and local governments the actual scope and scale of its proposed Medford gaming facility," the Cow Creek chairman wrote in a February 21 letter to Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs John Tahsuda, The Mail Tribune reported.

The Coquille Tribe denies the claims as baseless. The casino will be restricted to the original 2.42 acres, a spokesperson said, although another 45 acres have been acquired in recent years.

“This letter is just another attempt to delay the project,” communications director Ray Doering told The Mail Tribune in response to the Cow Creek Band's request.

Generally, land placed in trust after 1988 can't be used for a casino. 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 Cedars at Bear Creek site is in Medford, about 170 miles from the Mill Casino, the tribe's Class III facility in North Bend.

Read More on the Story
Casino face-Off (The Medford Mail Tribune February 28, 2019)
Cow Creek Tribe opposes proposed Coquille Tribe's casino in Medford (The Roseburg News-Review February 24, 2019)

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