Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians not giving up on Salem casino project

April 19, 2023
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The Tribe awaits approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, even after dismissal from Governor Tina Kotek.

The Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians say they will not give up on a casino project in Salem, Oregon. Governor Tina Kotek said no to the Tribe’s proposal, however, based on a Tribal gaming policy that allows one casino facility per Tribe on reservation land.

Kotek said in a letter to the chairs of Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes that she does not support the expansion of gambling in Oregon. However, Tribal chairs are not taking Kotek’s word as final.

Tribal Chairman Delores Pigsley said the Siletz Tribe still intends to move forward with plans to build a new casino. Both federal and state approval are required for the project to go ahead, and it is still waiting on approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Pigsley said in an interview that Kotkek, “can’t disapprove it until we get a decision from the bureau. We legally have the right since we negotiated our compact 20-some years ago. It does not have a sunset clause.”

The Tribe’s 1995 compact with Oregon says the Tribe and state may further negotiate the use of Salem land, and the Siletz Tribe’s intention is to build on an off-reservation gaming facility on Tribe-owned land in Salem off Interstate 5.

The Siletz tribe has proposed a 180,800-square-foot casino that would offer 2,000 gaming devices, 45 table games, a 500-room hotel, a nightclub and a sports bar.

If this proposal is approved, the Siletz Tribe would have one-quarter of its profits go to the state and local government, one-quarter to the Tribe, and the rest split amongst Oregon’s eight other Tribes.

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