Coquille Tribe makes moves toward Medford casino

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The Coquille tribe has revamped their effort to build a casino on a plot of land near Medford.

The cow creek and Coquille tribes are neighbors.

Tribal Communications Director Ray Doering said that Cedars at Bear Creek is expected to cost around $26 million. It is scheduled to be a class-II gaming facility, meaning it would be a casino without gaming tables.

"It's under different rules, it doesn't require a compact with the state," Doering said.

Instead, he said, the land must be put into trust by the federal government. To get to that point the tribe must go through a two to three year process of public meetings and environmental impact planning.

Some members of the neighboring Cow Creek band of the Umpqua tribe said they are upset by the purchase. Wayne Shammel, a Cow Creek member, said a Medford casino could take away jobs from from Seven Feathers casino in Canyonville.

"They've been our friends for a long time. There's never been any bad blood between these two tribes," Shammel said. "Don't take the bread out of the mouths of our children for theirs."

"The Coquille tribe would not have put this application in unless it was fully convinced that it had the right to do so," said Doering.

Doering said they are waiting for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to approve their application and they expect that to happen very soon.