Local officials head to D.C. to fight tribal casino

Meanwhile, the tribe has asked the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to place 2.42 acres in south Medford in a government trust

The Medford City Council on Thursday agreed to send a delegation of local officials to Washington, D.C. to oppose the Coquille Indian Tribe's proposal to build a casino in Medford.

A representative from the council and other city officials want to discuss their concerns with the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Indian Gaming in Washington, D.C.

On May 3, the council passed a resolution opposing the Coquille proposal for a video-gaming operation, which would be located at the Roxy Ann Lanes bowling alley and the former Kim's Restaurant along South Pacific Highway. The tribe also agreed to lease Bear Creek Golf Course, adjacent to the two buildings.

The council resolution came after the Coquille tribe made a presentation in April to the local community that showed it hoped to make a $26 million investment, install 600 or more video slot machines and employ 200 people with an annual payroll of $9.65 million.

City Manager Eric Swanson said the city has requested a meeting with the officials in Washington to discuss the tribe's request.

The Coquilles have asked the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to place 2.42 acres in south Medford in a government trust. That would start a process that could lead to reservation status for the site.

The Coquille tribe also has asked the federal Office of Indian Gaming Management for an exception to a prohibition on gaming on lands acquired after October 1988.

The tribe announced its plans for the casino in September 2012. It purchased Roxy Ann Lanes for $1.6 million and Kim's for $675,000. The two properties total about 5 acres, and the golf course covers a little more than 18 acres. Both the bowling alley and the golf course continue to operate.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email dmann@mailtribune.com.

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