Oregon: Siletz faces Grand Ronde tribe opposition to Salem casino project; city seeks delay

As the Confederate tribes of the Siletz Indians move forward with a proposed casino -$280 million site along Interstate 5, in North Salem-, The project is set to face opposition from the Confederate tribes in the Grand Ronde: they claim the facility will be unfair competition to other tribes in Oregon, and that it might damage the state’s largest casino in the east at Grand Ronde.

Confederate tribes of Siletz Indians, owners of the only tribal casino in Lincoln County, They claim that the project – the second in the state – will provide jobs, entertainment and tourism in North Salem. Set to feature 2,000 slots, nine poker tables, bars, lounges, and a 500-room hotel; West of Highway 5 and south of Shimawa Indian School.

The Siletz tribe already operates the Chinook Winds Casino Resort, a place that employs 800 people. Salem’s project will create additional employment opportunities – about 1,200 paid living jobs, the tribe claims, and 2,300 construction jobs – at the 180,800-square-foot casino, two hotel towers and other miscellaneous amenities..

Tribal officials are also seeking to improve the bid, having promised to share an “unprecedented 25%” of net gaming revenue with state and local government with 50% of net revenue split “with participating tribes,” Reports yachats news. The Siletz tribe expects to generate $185 million in its first year of operation and $231 million in its third year.

However, the Confederate tribes of the Grand Ronde lobbied against it, claiming that the place would bring traffic and crime problems to the area. Additionally, they say losing business at the tribe’s Spirit Mountain Casino from a competitor will lead to a budget deficit. A ‘drastic impact’ on Grand Ronde’s ability to deliver critical programs and invest in infrastructure.

Similar to the Confederate tribes of the Grand Ronde, Salem officials are also seeking to delay a review of the proposed casino’s plans. The city asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the time, As the Grand Ronde asks the Bureau to move to a more comprehensive environmental impact statement, reach Salem Reporter.

Craig Dorsay, Siletz’s attorney, said the call for a statement was a move to delay the project. Already on January 7, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued an environmental assessment of more than 2,700 pages Facility Impact Measurement: The casino will consume approximately 125 million gallons of water annually and drive more than 7,800 cars per day to the site.

According to Dorsey, the Bureau of Indian Affairs first proposed a less stringent environmental assessment due to zoning and the nature of the land involved.. “We don’t believe that anyone is wanted, but if we have to, we are happy to do so,” he said regarding the statement.

The tribe had already asked the company that completed the environmental assessment to do quality work on its studies that would meet the standard for an EIA, so in case one is needed, Siletz thinks they won’t have to start over.

Meanwhile, Dan Atchinson, the city attorney for Salem, sent a letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, requesting a 120-day extension to review the assessment.. Atchinson claims it is necessary to “allow for appropriate review” of the environmental assessment and “provide meaningful feedback” on the project, according to the cited source.

As Siletz is seeking federal approval for the project, which would require the green light from Home Secretary and Governor Kate Brown to move forward, A public comment period has been launched on the submitted environmental assessment, which ends on 8 April.

On Wednesday night, the Bureau of Indian Affairs submitted its 2,700-page Preliminary Environmental Assessment for comment at a public meeting. While a few speakers expressed their support, many voiced their opposition to the casino, including members of the Grand Rund Tribe who attended the meeting, reports KGW8.

The Siletz, which focused during the meeting on new job opportunities and expanding the city’s tax base, issued a statement in response to Gran Ronde’s accusations.. “We are disappointed by Grande Ronde’s opposition to our Salem Casino project and their false narrative about how the casino deters revenue from existing Oregon casinos and harms other tribes,” the text reads.

These statements are simply incorrect. The mission of the Siletz Casino Project is just the opposite. We intend to share the proceeds from the property with all of the Oregonian tribes, “Add.” Salem Casino will direct additional revenue to state and local government to support solutions to the issues Salem faces and to offset any impacts the casino operation may have. “

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