Congress approves longer leases for Oregon tribes

On December 22, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation sponsored by Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden that will assist economic growth for the Klamath, Coquille, Burns Paiute, Siletz, and the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Suislaw in Oregon. The new federal law allows these five Oregon tribes to lease their trust land for up to 99 years. Hopefully, this move will drive long-term business and economic development on these tribal lands. (Long term leases can also be a problem for economic development as business trends and opportunities rise and fall.)

Previously, these five federally recognized tribes had to renew leases every 25 years, a limitation that had been in effect since 1955, and which was seen as hindering economic growth and beneficial business arrangements to develop retail outlets or housing etc.

“This bill allows us to really get to the table and offer something to people interested in a joint venture,” said Bob Garcia, chairman of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, which owns and operates the Three Rivers Casino in Florence.

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