When are we getting a casino?
My wife and I have been going to casinos for years, but we’re getting older and don’t like to travel far. I’ve read the Mail Tribune articles about the casino planned for Medford, but nothing has happened so far. Can you let people like us know when we might get to see the casino in Medford?
— Bill H., Medford
We’d like to give you some good news, Bill, but the project is tied up in red tape, specifically awaiting release of a draft environmental report that will eventually be published by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Coquille tribe, which has a casino in North Bend on the coast, owns a 2.42-acre property on South Pacific Highway that contains Roxy Ann Lanes. The tribe in 2012 bought the land for $1.6 million as the site for its proposed casino.
Ray Doering, spokesman for the Coquille, said that once the draft environmental report is finished, it will be available for public comment.
He said he doesn’t know how long it could take for either the draft report to be prepared or how long it could take for the final report.
“It can be a long time,” he said.
If the federal government approves the tribal land request, barring any lawsuits, the Coquille could proceed quickly to remodel the bowling alley into a casino. Since it’s tribal land, it wouldn’t require permits or the usual land-use processes for other construction projects.
Still, Doering said the casino will meet all current construction standards such as fire sprinklers and other safety requirements.
Even though the project won’t have to meet local building codes, the Coquille will work with local officials to reach agreements for city fire and police services.
Doering said the Coquille have received similar questions about when the casino will open, Bill.
“We would like to know that answer too,” he said.
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