Oregon tribes dispute Salem casino project

February 21, 2022
By

Debate has arisen following the Siletz Tribe’s plan to build its second casino in Oregon.

A number of Oregon-based tribes have voiced concern regarding plans to build a casino in the city of Salem. 

Specifically, the Siletz Tribe has proposed a plan to construct a 180,000-square-foot property, featuring an event center, 50,000 square feet of gaming space and over 500 hotel rooms. The tribe claims that this property would generate up to $231m by its third year of operations while also creating 1,200 full-time jobs. 

The controversial part, however, is the tribe’s plans to share revenue among itself, the state and local government, and Oregon’s eight other tribal entities at a ratio of 25/25/50. 

This scheme would be a new approach for the state’s tribes and has drawn some criticism. 

Tribal council member Denise Harvey had this to say about the proposal: “This dangerous precedent could put Oregon’s eight other tribes into harm’s way and could result in the state seeking a higher percentage of revenues from existing casinos.”

Moreover, this property would see the Siletz Tribe own two properties throughout the state. This goes against the policy of once Governor John Kitzhaber, who established the state’s tribal gaming system. 

“We should not be making accommodations against state practice and policy to grant Siletz a second casino when they already have one on the Oregon coast,” said Chris Mercier, Vice Chair of the Grand Ronde council. 

“The actual impact of a casino in Salem will be devastating to Spirit Mountain and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde,” he continued. 

While it remains to be seen if this casino project will be approved, the Siletz Tribe must first receive the go ahead from both the state’s government and its tribal forces before it can move ahead with its plans.

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