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Former Kim's building to be demolished

The former Kim's Restaurant building on South Pacific Highway will be demolished starting Nov. 10 by the Coquille Indian Tribe, which hopes to open a $26 million casino on the site in the future.

"It's getting an abandoned building out of the way," said Ray Doering, spokesman for the Coquille tribe. 

The building has been vacant since May 2005, when the restaurant operations ceased. Local firefighters have used the site for training exercises.

The Coquille tribe has proposed a casino at the Roxy Ann Lanes bowling alley, which is still operating adjacent to the Kim's building in south Medford. The tribe also has agreed to lease the nearby Bear Creek Golf Course, a mostly par-3 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.

Doering said the demolition doesn't mean the tribe is any closer to getting approval for its casino proposal from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"We're still waiting for the BIA to make the first move," he said.

The casino has been opposed by Jackson County, the city of Medford, Gov. John Kitzhaber and U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

John and Lela Larkin, owners of Roxy Ann Lanes, have assured customers that the bowling alley will remain open, and that all scheduled leagues and events will continue as usual. Access from the highway and to the parking lot should not be affected.

The drive-in access to the Human Bean will remain the same, and the golf course will continue its regular seasonal hours of operation. 

Doering said that because of historical interest in the large Kim’s Restaurant sign, the tribe consulted with the Southern Oregon Historical Society and will donate the sign to the Terpening Motor Museum, which will display the sign at its facility outside of Phoenix.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.