The Coquille tribe is meeting with local officials this week to discuss their proposal to build a casino in Medford. It would be the tribe’s second casino, and could end an informal agreement that has limited gambling in Oregon.
The Coquille are based in Coos Bay, and operate the Mill casino. The tribe has purchased a bowling alley in Medford and asked the Secretary of Interior to place the land in federal trust. The Coquille told the Jackson County Commissioners they’re planning a casino with 600 slot machines.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has opposed off-reservation casinos, and said that each tribe voluntarily agreed to operate just one.
Ken Tanner, chief of the Coquille, says the tribe has a legal right to build a second casino. “The idea of one casino per tribe is a false one. Evidence of that is that the governor signed our compact which allows us a second casino.”
A second tribe, the Cow Creek Umpqua, owns a casino 70 miles north of Medford on 1-5. They say the Medford casino would cut into their profits, and could prompt competing proposals for casinos in Portland, Bend, and Salem.