The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians have announced their plans to bring a casino to Salem Oregon that could rival the newly opened Ilani Casino in southern Washington. In order to do this, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians would have to partner with other tribes in the state of Oregon.
The ‘Inter-Tribal’ Casino
The proposed $280 million project would open in 2021 and is located just off of I-5, roughly an hour and a half away from the newly opened Ilani. This would be the first inter-tribal casino project in the state of Oregon. The casino would be built upon the Siletz’s land but would involve other stat American Indian tribes in its operation. This is a project that the Siletz have been working on for roughly two years and they are seeking a buy-in from all nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon. None of the tribes involved would have to commit financially to the deal, as long as they agree not to build another casino in the Portland area.
25 percent of the revenue brought in by the new casino would go directly to the Siletz, another 25 percent would go to the state itself. The remaining 50 percent would be split amongst the remaining tribes. Siletz Tribal Council Chair Dee Pigsley estimates that the proposed 140,000-square-foot facility would generate $185 million in its first year and would create 1,500 new jobs. When all is said and done, the facility will include an entertainment venue, gaming, and a hotel.
Searching for Support
In order to move forward with the proposal, the Siletz will have to overcome a number of legal hurdles along the way. To help in this venture the tribe has sought the assistance of Gov. Kate Brown, in hopes that she will approve the casino. In addition to government support the tribe faces a challenge from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, who fear the new casino would have a negative effect on their business. Their Spirit Mountain Casino is just a half an hour west of Salem, and they claim that the proposal would have a devastating impact on their business.
Pigsley argues that the construction of this new casino could help counteract the negative effects felt from the Ilani Casino. The Ilani has already established itself as a major facility on the West Coast and has cut in to the business of surrounding casinos. Projections suggest that the Ilani will also take away more than $100 million a year from the Oregon state lottery. “As a Tribal community, we have a responsibility to preserve and grow jobs and revenue in Oregon. These funds directly support family wage jobs and healthcare, education, environmental, housing and transportation programs throughout the state,” said Pigsley.