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Jan-07-2008 17:19printcomments

More Bad News for Gorge Casino

New, tighter guidelines for off-reservation casinos bolsters the case for on-reservation or Central Oregon alternative.

The Columbia Gorge
The Columbia Gorge
Photo courtesy: britannica.com

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - New, tighter guidelines are in store for off-reservation casino, and more scrutiny will be given to environmental compatibility and 'reasonable, regular' commuting distances between reservation residents and new casino locations; 113 miles separates town of Warm Springs from the proposed Cascade Locks location A January 3rd 2008 memo by Assistant Interior Secretary Carl Artman that contains new guidelines for the consideration off-reservation casinos raises even greater doubts about the viability of Oregon's first off-reservation casino proposed for the Columbia River Gorge.

"A one-way 113-mile commute on difficult and sometimes dangerous roads is not a reasonable commute for most Warm Springs tribal members. These new guidelines are another barrier to an off-reservation casino in the Gorge and reinforce the need for casino advocates to consider an on-reservation or nearby Central Oregon location," said Dan Lavey, a spokesman for a coalition of environmental, small business, pro-family and tribal interests who oppose the Gorge casino proposal.

The just released memo indicates the federal government will give greater scrutiny to off-reservation casino proposals the further they are located from tribal residents who could potentially work at and benefit from the new off-reservation casino locations. In addition, they indicate that off-reservation casinos are incompatible if located on or near environmentally sensitive lands such as National Parks or federally designated conservation areas. The Columbia River Gorge is a federally designated National Scenic Area.


"The Department of Interior recognizes its responsibility to protect national scenic treasures like the Columbia River Gorge. The noise, traffic and pollution from a massive 600,000 square foot casino resort with an estimated 3 million visitors a year would simply not be compatible with Oregonians vision for the future of the Gorge area," said Michael Lang, a coalition member and Conservation Director for Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

The memo contains the following rationale for the new guidelines:

On close commuting proximity to tribal residents:

"If the gaming facility is not within a commutable distance of the reservation, tribal members who are residents of the reservation will either: a) not be able to take advantage of the job opportunities if they desire to remain on the reservation; or b) be forced to move away from the reservation to take advantage of the job opportunity. In either case, the negative impacts on reservation life could be considerable."

On preventing negative impacts to adjacent lands:

"Incompatible uses might consist of adjacent or contiguous land zoned or used for: National Parks, National Monuments, Federally designated conservation areas, National Fish and Wildlife Refuges, day care centers, schools, churches, or residential developments."

A copy of the Department of Interior memo is available at nogorgecasino.com/ in the Issues section.

Source: PRNewswire




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Tim King March 4, 2008 3:28 pm (Pacific time)

Don't worry Joel, your enthusiasm is a good thing and even contagious. If you want to get me in touch with people who can offer some light on this subject, please email me at tim@salem-news.com and let's get a plan going. I am passing through this area every few weeks, if I know where I am going and who I am talking to then we may be able to use the TV camera too. I am happy to help the parts of Oregon that are overlooked by the Portland stations, thanks for the input and I look forward to hearing from you.

Tim


Joel Santos March 4, 2008 3:24 pm (Pacific time)

I work for fish and wildlife here in Warm Springs. Our tribe has worked long and hard trying to restore the land and fish that those dams have diminished. I work on and off the reservation researching my native fish. We will do the same in the gorge if we get the casino. You want to talk about negative impacts to the adjacent land, go to Mosier and look at those ugly houses they just put up, or go to the Dalles and try to look for Celilo Falls where our people use to flourish. Now its a meth infested town. I apologize if im attacking you. My love for my people gets the best of me sometimes.


Tim King March 4, 2008 3:03 pm (Pacific time)

Joel, Can you do me a favor and look at what I wrote below this post in bold? I am sorry that this article causes you to feel bad toward us. This was sent in as a press release and I am still waiting from someone in the Native American community to send a response article in. I am not over there to monitor what happens, people all need to utilize our offer to publish articles that speak to your cause. Yes, by the way, I have a culture. As much of a proponent as I am of all people, I detect a one culture approach from your tone. Sorry, I care equally about all cultures, please don't paint me as being something I am not, as the editor of this news site. Thanks, Tim King


Joel Santos March 4, 2008 2:57 pm (Pacific time)

My WS tribe has suffered long enough. We never left the Gorge, We have always been there. We fish, hunt and gather roots there just like the past. We never gave up that land, we just let you non natives come join us to live with us in harmony. So how dare you for opposing my peoples future. We are going to prevail because our hearts are in the right place. P.S. I put on 60000 miles a year to travel for salmon,deer,elk,roots, and berries for my family. Traveling to other places is a part of our culture. Do you have a culture?


Kaylie C. January 14, 2008 2:13 pm (Pacific time)

P.S. 113 miles might seem like a long ways away for a one way trip...but you must remember that our tribal members travel 60 miles to go see a movie (120 miles roundtrip) and we also travel 150 miles to Portland to go to a "real" mall, and we do this without a blink of an eye or a whimper of complaint. We know we live in the middle of nowhere, and if we are going to enrich our lives or show our children the "real" world, we must put the miles on our vehicles to do so. To think that our tribal members would balk at 113 miles to go to a future casino is a hardship...think again. (Sorry...I just forgot that in my earlier post!)


Kaylie January 14, 2008 2:09 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Editor: I understand the laws of journalism. I am not attacking or critizing salem news.com, I just get tired of all the reports that I read that are (to me) biased and one sided. I live in Salem and go to school here, and I get lonesome and homesick for news back home in the local papers/internet stories, and to come across this...well it made me mad. :) I will be sure to let the people in Warm Springs know that they need to start standing up and getting OUR voices heard too. We are not trying to "take" anything from anybody, we are just trying to better ouselves with what we can. Thank you for your response and I hope that next time someone will take the time to get the full story so people don't get just 1/2 the story....

Editor to Kaylie, you have made one good point after another and I appreciate it. I understand that you would want to get solid information about the area you are from. I hope you do encourage people there to utilize Salem-News.com as a way to get important information out, we are becoming more of a statewide site by the day. If you want to explore writing a piece to balance this just let me know, thanks.


Kaylie C. January 14, 2008 11:53 am (Pacific time)

I am a 19 year old Warm Springs Tribal Member, and when I read this article, I was laughing. You make it sound like its a BAD thing for Tribal Members to be moving OFF the reservation. What if my Tribe decides to build houses over there for us? Is this still the early 19th century where we are NOT allowed to move away from our reservation? I know a lot of people here would move there to share in the American Dream, and yet it sounds like maybe we are not privelaged enough to return to our ceded lands! This is so onesided...yeah, where is OUR input? and why do you share the report on the nogorgecasino website? So biased I tell you!!!

Editor to Kaylie, this is a press release and it is marked as such, if the other side of this argument sends something in to counter this we will print it. If it says press release then we are communicating to you that this is not a balanced piece that we wrote. We do not mean to short sell anybody and perhaps this should have not been published without a revision, the best answer is to encourage your tribal members to contact us to help get a better story out.. You can email our newsroom at: newsroom@salem-news.com


K. Jackson January 8, 2008 10:10 am (Pacific time)

Where is the Warm Springs persective or the other side of the story? Three points I would like to make. 1. The Reservation is more than just the town of Warm Springs. The reservation is actually only 35 miles from Cascade Locks. The reservation has towns farther north and closer to Cascade Locks than the town of Warm Springs. 2. Cascade Locks is within our ceded areas (recognized by the Federal Government as part of the WS's original land base). No other proposals had this provision. 3. The WS weren't rejected. 22 other Tribes were. Of the Tribes that were rejected on the basis of commutability the closest was 150+ miles. It would be nice if you could present a balanced article that truely represents that facts all of the facts of the situation. Isn't that a priciple of journalism?

Editor: Kay, this is a press release and it is marked as such. I understand your concern, we will look into this subject in an article in the near future.

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