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  • Senators oppose casino proposal

    U.S. Sens. Merkley and Wyden join Kitzhaber, Jackson County and Medford in opposing Coquille plan
  • U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have opposed the Coquille Indian Tribe's proposal to build a casino in Medford.
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  • U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have opposed the Coquille Indian Tribe's proposal to build a casino in Medford.
    In an Oct. 21 letter written to Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary of Indian Affairs with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the two Democratic senators from Oregon said they agree with the opposition already voiced by Gov. John Kitzhaber, the Jackson County commissioners and the city of Medford.
    The Coquille tribe has proposed a casino at the Roxy Ann Lanes bowling alley, which is still operating, and at the former Kim's Restaurant on South Pacific Highway in south Medford. The tribe also has agreed to lease the nearby Bear Creek Golf Course.
    The Coquille tribe has asked the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the 2.42-acre property, excluding the golf course, in a government trust.
    In addition, the Coquilles have asked the federal Office of Indian Gaming Management for an exception to a prohibition on gaming on lands acquired after October 1988.
    Wyden and Merkley say the type of video gambling that would be offered at the proposed Medford facility is comparable to the gambling offered at other casinos throughout the state that have existed under a so-called one-tribe, one-casino agreement.
    "In Oregon, we have a long history of striking a balance between the pursuit of gaming revenues, which benefits tribal members enormously, and the risks associated with a significant increase in the number of gaming facilities, which would have negative consequences on many of our communities," the senators wrote.
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