Cowlitz Tribe debuts convenience store and gas station on gaming anniversary

It's been two years since the Cowlitz Tribe opened its long-awaited gaming facility in Washington and business only continues to grow.

The tribe celebrated the debut of Cowlitz Crossing on Monday. The gas station and convenience store is part of the ilani gaming complex, which welcomed customers in April 2017 after more than a decade of work.

“It puts us on equal footing with other tribes and gives us opportunities we’ve never had before,”Chairman Bill Iyall told The Columbian of the facility, adding that “we’re just getting started" when it comes to future development on the reservation.

A year ago, the tribe debuted the Cowlitz Ballroom, a 30,000 square-foot event center at ilani. A hotel is also in the works though it's still in the planning stages.

The Cowlitz Reservation consists of 152 acres in Clark County in Washington. It was the first reservation to be placed in trust following the devastating U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Carcieri v. Salazar.

Opponents, including a tribe in neighboring Oregon, cited Carcieri in hopes of keeping the land from going into trust. But the courts determined that the Cowlitz met the requirements laid out in the ruling, meaning that it was "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934 even though its status wasn't formally clarified until more recently.

Read More on the Story
Cowlitz Crossing gas station, convenience store opens near ilani (The Columbian April 22, 2019)
Two years in, ilani owners still have a winning hand (The Columbian April 21, 2019)
Clark County to sort out how to apportion tribe payments (The Columbian April 21, 2091)

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