Two days before Christmas the U.S. Department of the Interior handed the Cowlitz Tribe, located in southern Washington state, a big holiday present!
Interior finally approved the tribe’s request to take 152 acres into trust status which would allow the tribe to open gaming operations. The Cowlitz were recognized as a federally recognized tribe in 2000. The land in question is just 15 miles north of Portland Oregon and the Columbia River, and would be the nearest Indian casino to Portland.
The Portland Oregonian reports that the tribe will start construction as soon as it has financing and that it could have a casino operating within three years.
The Cowlitz are partnering with the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut which has long operated the enormous Mohegan Sun casino complex.
The paper makes the point that both the Grand Ronde Tribe and the Warm Springs Tribe, both located in Oregon, could be negatively affected by this development. The Grand Ronde own the most successful tribal casino in Oregon; but it is located about 63 miles west of the Portland area and is on a two lane highway. The Warm Springs have been trying to get land taken into trust for years to build a casino about 40 miles east of Portland.