Currently, the Coquille Tribe owns about a large piece of land of Medford’s South Pacific Highway strip after an amount exceeding $6 million was spent by the tribe over the last few years for property expansion around a site where its casino is supposed to be situated.
For the time being, the tribe has in its possession or control approximately 45 acres of property around the proposed casino location.
On December 12th, 2018, the tribe successfully obtained five lots which total 2.36 acres situated in close proximity to Habitat for Humanity Rogue Valley and Charlotte Ann Road. According to official county records, it was Medford Commercial Properties that acquired the land of behalf of the tribe in a $1.62-million deal.
Jackson County records show that only a couple of weeks earlier, on November 21st, 2018, it purchased a site of 2.43 acres situated north of Lowry Lane using the name I-5 Landholdings LLC. The acquisition was estimated to $2.5 million. The same company also bought 3.6 acres of land south of Roxy Ann Lanes for $2.36 million on November 21st, 2016. This is the site which the Coquille Indian Tribe plans to use for the proposed casino venue construction.
The tribe also owns a property of 2.42 acres which it purchased in 2012 at the price of $1.6 million, after initially considering the land as the location for the new casino. However, seven years later, the US Government is still expected to decide whether the land should be regarded as tribal land or not.
Federal Government Approval Is Necessary for the Land
Back in 2017, the Office of Indian Gaming gave the nod for building a casino to the tribe, but that could happen only in case that the land where the proposed venue would be established is officially considered reservation land. Other Indian tribes have opposed the project, with the latter also facing the opposition of former Governor John Kitzhaber, Is Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, the city of Medford, and the Jackson County commissioners.
The chairperson of the Coquille Indian Tribal Council, Brenda Meade, confirmed that the tribe has been considering adding a hotel to its gambling location project. Ms. Meade further shared that the Native American nation has been considering the establishment of a conference center venue.
The Coquille tribe is aimed at building its Cedars casino at Bear Creek in the south part of Medford. Previous plans for such a property included the conversion of the former location of Kim’s restaurant and the current bowling alley of Roxy Ann Lanes in a casino venue offering 650 video gambling terminals (VGTs).
The Tribal Council’s chairperson confessed that the Coquilles are concerned with the standstill regarding its 2.42-acre land which still awaits the Federal Government’s approval in order to be considered tribal land. She further noted that no plans could be made by the tribe for the owned or controlled properties until a final decision on the 2.42-acre piece of land is made by the Government. Ms. Meade shared her hopes that the decision will be made by the end of 2019.
Last April, the Coquille Indian Tribe heard that the Federal Government had the intention to accelerate the process of application consideration and ruling. Still, no decision on the issue was made.
Ms. Meade further explained that if Indian Tribal Nation’s plans for the proposed casino are rejected by the Federal Government, other options among its Medford purchases will be taken into consideration by the tribe.