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Tribes Urge U.S. Interior Secretary to Reject Medford Casino Proposal


The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, along with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, have formally asked the U.S. Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, to deny the proposed casino project in Medford, Oregon. The tribes argue that the casino would have detrimental effects on the local community and existing tribal gaming operations.


The proposed casino, called the Cedar Ridge Casino, is a project spearheaded by the Coquille Indian Tribe. The tribe has been seeking approval to build the casino on a 2.42-acre parcel of land in Medford, which is located in the heart of southern Oregon's Rogue Valley.

The Coquille Indian Tribe has been working to establish a casino in the area for several years, citing economic development and job creation as primary motivators for the project. However, the proposal has faced significant opposition from neighboring tribes, including the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.

The Arguments against the Casino

The opposing tribes have outlined several key arguments against the establishment of the Cedar Ridge Casino in Medford. One of their primary concerns is the potential negative impact the casino would have on existing tribal gaming operations. Both the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians currently operate successful gaming facilities in southern Oregon and fear that the addition of a new casino would cannibalize their businesses.

Additionally, the tribes argue that the proposed casino's location in Medford is in an area where tribal gaming is not historically or traditionally significant. They assert that the Coquille Indian Tribe's ancestral lands are located on the coast, and establishing a casino in Medford does not align with their historical connection to the area.

Furthermore, the tribes emphasize the potential adverse effects that the casino could have on the local community. They point to concerns over increased traffic congestion, crime, and other social issues that often accompany the introduction of a new casino. The tribes argue that the negative impacts of the casino would outweigh any potential economic benefits it may bring to the region.

In a joint letter to Secretary Haaland, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians articulated their collective opposition to the Medford casino proposal. The letter emphasized the tribes' commitment to upholding the integrity of tribal gaming and protecting the interests of their communities.

Response from the Coquille Indian Tribe

In response to the opposition from neighboring tribes, the Coquille Indian Tribe has defended its casino proposal, asserting that it has a legitimate right to pursue economic development opportunities. The tribe has highlighted its efforts to engage with the community and address concerns raised by opponents of the project.

The Coquille Indian Tribe has also emphasized the potential economic benefits that the Cedar Ridge Casino could bring to the Medford area. The tribe estimates that the casino would create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in economic impact for the region. Additionally, the Coquille Indian Tribe has stressed its commitment to responsible gaming practices and its intention to contribute positively to the local community.

The Decision of the U.S. Interior Secretary

As the debate over the proposed casino in Medford intensifies, the decision ultimately rests with U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. The Secretary has the authority to approve or deny the Coquille Indian Tribe's application for the casino project.

Secretary Haaland's decision will be informed by a comprehensive review process that takes into account the concerns and perspectives of all stakeholders involved. The Secretary will consider factors such as the potential economic benefits of the casino, its impact on existing tribal gaming operations, and the implications for the local community.

The tribes opposing the casino have made a compelling case for why they believe the Cedar Ridge Casino should not be approved. They have underscored the importance of preserving the integrity of tribal gaming and safeguarding the well-being of their communities. Additionally, they have raised valid concerns about the location of the proposed casino and its potential repercussions for the region.

On the other hand, the Coquille Indian Tribe has articulated its vision for the casino as a means of advancing economic development and creating opportunities for the Medford area. The tribe has emphasized its commitment to responsible gaming practices and its dedication to being a positive force in the community.


The controversy surrounding the proposed casino in Medford highlights the complex and sometimes contentious nature of tribal gaming initiatives. It reflects the competing interests and perspectives that come into play when considering the establishment of a new gaming facility.

Ultimately, the decision whether to approve or deny the Cedar Ridge Casino proposal will be a challenging one for U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. She will need to carefully weigh the arguments presented by the Coquille Indian Tribe and the opposing tribes, taking into account the potential impacts on tribal gaming, the local community, and the broader economic landscape.

As the debate continues, it is clear that the outcome will have significant implications for all parties involved. Whether the Cedar Ridge Casino becomes a reality or not, the discussions and negotiations surrounding the proposal serve as a reminder of the complexities inherent in tribal gaming and the importance of thoughtful consideration in shaping the future of the industry.

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