COOS BAY — Should a new Class II gaming facility be built in Coos Bay?

That’s the question posed by the tribal council of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians to its members.

The idea is raising some members’ eyebrows.

“We don’t know enough about it to support it,” said David Petrie, one of a few tribal members who are questioning the proposal.

The tribal council mailed a proposal letter in October to its members with basic plans for a facility, which would be located on the tribe’s property by Wallace Street just off Ocean Boulevard. The building would be in addition to the tribe’s proposed hotel on the Hollering Place lot.

Class II facilities by definition include bingo and other chance games and exclude slot machines.

“It’s like the one the Coquille want in Medford, the difference is that’s our tribal reservation,” said Bob Garcia, tribal chairman.

Garcia said they were asking tribal members’ opinions on the facility.

“We’re considering proposals and are in the decision-making process,” Garcia said.

The letter sent to tribal members listed several benefits for the tribe: jobs, asserting its heritage, much-needed revenue and little risk. It said 40-50 new jobs would be      created, with preferential hiring going to members.

“Coos Bay is the ancestral territory of the Coos Indians,” the letter said. “The project is literally an opportunity to fly our flag in the heart of our territory.”

Independent consultants reported the facility should be profitable, and the tribe wouldn’t have to put any of its assets in jeopardy, it said.

Some tribal members don’t see it that way.

“There hasn’t been enough return from the Three Rivers since its inception in 2004 to cause interest in the tribal members,” said Petrie.

Three Rivers is a Class III facility, with slot machines and hotel in Florence.

Some question whether another facility can survive, given the proximity to casinos such as Three Rivers and The Mill.

“I don’t believe the community can support another gaming facility,” Petrie said.

Although the letter asked for members’ opinions, it also said the tribal council had the last word.

“We will continue to provide the courtesy of briefings to our neighbors and to other governments, but we alone will make the final decision,” the letter said.

Statements like that irritated members like Petrie.

“They made it clear the council would make the decision no matter what,” Petrie said. “I’m so disturbed by this dictatorship.”

Petrie also said he and others were concerned about the facility’s proximity to the Tribal Hall, which would expose children to the “gaming environment.”

Rodger Craddock, Coos Bay city manager, said the Urban Renewal Agency knew of the tribe’s proposed plans for a gaming facility on its property when they approved their plan for the hotel. The city wasn’t concerned, since the tribe can do what they want with their land, he said.

“It’s lawful activity,” Craddock said. “I don’t believe the city has a say in the matter.”

He said the main thing he was worried about was traffic control in and out of the facility, since it lies on a busy street, Cape Arago Highway.

“We have concerns regarding traffic patterns,” Craddock said.

He said he wasn’t sure how much traffic to expect.

Garcia declined to comment on specifics, such as size or revenue, due to the project’s early stages. He said they’d be making an announcement on it in the next couple of weeks.

“There really isn’t anything we can say about it yet,” Garcia said.

Reporter Emily Thornton can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 249 or at emily.thornton@theworldlink.com or on Twitter: @EmilyK_Thornton.

(22) comments

LUCLUSI
LUCLUSI

SO so sad......

elkkiller
elkkiller

An informed citizenary is the foundation of a functioning democracy, this is relevant for any culture. CoosIndian's remark tribal members voted 2-1 in favor of this facitlty reflects less than 20 % of our voting membership's participation. And as for CTCLUSI Tribal Member's remark concerning who cares what tribal members have to say you are correct!!! unless members are related to someone on Tribal Council or a political hire the voice isn't heard. We have a corrupt government with BIA support.

Tribalyouth
Tribalyouth

As a tribal youth, I do not believe that we should be building this facility. I would much prefer something that would allow for the involvement of people below the age of 21. We are, after all, the future of the tribe. We could be making money in other ways.

thejusticeformytribesfuture
thejusticeformytribesfuture

David speaks for those whose voices have been lost in the opinion of the "great Tribal Council ", the same who've lost sight of the meaning of tribe. They say they are for the people but when it comes down to it they stand alone with the money in their pockets. I can’t wait for the day that we will no longer be looked upon as a joke because our tribe stopped being a tribe of gaming facilities and started being a tribe that would make our ancestors proud.

Concernedtribalmember
Concernedtribalmember

Being a Tribal member of CLUSI I have the same concerns that Mr. Petrie has. This facility is another step in the wrong direction for us. The problem is that our Tribal Council is only concerned with building businesses to make money. In todays world, this is how we are expected to live: make money, hoard, live in excess. Our tribal ancestors would be ashamed of how our current Tribal Council chooses to lead our people.
Building a healthy community, and perpetuating our culture needs attention.

tsxuunptlii
tsxuunptlii

What vote? oh the thing that said no matter what the vote is, council has the final say? So many Tribal Members didn't give their opinion because they didn't want to put their name on it. I keep hearing we are looking forward for our young people, well, the young people don't want it. We want our people to be represented by being stewards of our earth, practitioners of our culture, and the kind hearted people our Ancestors were. Not greedy westerners that live off of others weaknesses.

CTCLUSI Tribal Member
CTCLUSI Tribal Member

First of all.... That's a horrible thing to say about westerners. And tribal members do not live off of people weakness. We have a great Tribal Council. They are all very concerned for each and everyone of us as a whole. We as a tribe need to stick together and quit fighting each other all the time.
Our ancestors were kind hearted people, that would be PROUD of what our tribe stands for today, and the progress we have made. We need to stand tall and proud and run with every opportunity!!!!!

tsxuunptlii
tsxuunptlii

I didn't say all westerners are greedy I'm saying we are acting like the greedy ones. I'm also not fighting our Tribal Membership or Tribal Council. I am saying that their are other opinions on this issue. I disagree that our Ancestors would be proud. I do stand proud but I believe as our Ancestors did that it is foolish to run with every opportunity there must be balance. If we wanted to make our Ancestors proud we would be taking care of our lands and waters and culture, that is what they want

tsxuunptlii
tsxuunptlii

"I know the mind of my people. They do not want money. It is long since we had money and we no longer care for it...The great Chief sends money to the Indians but does not understand their hearts. The People will never do again as they once did-sell their land...If I was to talk many days, I should say the same thing." 138 years later and we are saying the same thing. We do not want this dirty money, we want our Clean Lands, Clean Waters, and Culture. Who would make their Ancestors Proud?

CoosIndian
CoosIndian

This is no Coos, Lower Umpqua or Siuslaw Indian who is 100% full bloodied Indian. Your comments are hypocritical-you and your parents & your children are more "westerners" than indian. As for the people who are crying about culture & tradition; look closely where the money is coming from to fund Education, Culture, & the Elder Pension. All of these funds come from casino revenues. As these programs grow, & revenues stagnate due to your resistance to common sense growth: what will you give up?

tsxuunptlii
tsxuunptlii

That is the BIA talking they put the blood quantum on us because they thought it would get rid of us and it's working with certain tribes. Western thinking is a culture as native culture is a culture so my family is of the native culture. I don't think we have to worry about these programs growing because as we focus more and more on casino's fewer and fewer people are concerned with Culture, or Sovereignty, we are giving up so much all the time.

tsxuunptlii
tsxuunptlii

FYI Common Sense growth would be focused on paying off debt before getting into more, diversification, and sustainability. Also since we are a Tribe we are not common and we should be working with the other tribes in order to better take care of our mother earth instead of dividing ourselves with this sort of arms race meanwhile leading ourselves back towards termination and later down the road extinction.

CoosTribalMember25
CoosTribalMember25

In this case I believe that David Petrie is correct. I am a tribal member who is not for this new gaming facility. If the vote even was truly 2:1 it's only because over 70% of our tribe is only concerned with the check that they think they will be getting. If you ask the people who are truly concerned with the culture of the tribe, they would say that the "honorable council members" need to focus their time and energy on something that is actually beneficial to the good of the tribe.

TEP
TEP

With all the talk about the LNG facility and jobs, I would think that people would be overjoyed to see this facility go in. This is a clean non polluting business, that will create jobs, and increase tourism here. It's a definite economic plus for the community.

GS97459
GS97459

Another gaming facility in our small community is too much in my opinion. The Mill Casino is a fine facility which provides much needed jobs and tax revenues. It is garrish by design as is most other commercial enterprises meant to attract the eyes of the motoring public. It's location on Highway 101 is appropriate. Do the citizens of this community wish to have the lovely drive from Empire to Charleston reduced to a traffic clogged strip blighted by neon signs For the tribe, it's all about the money. The rest of us, unlucky enough not to have at least one full blood great, great grandparent, will receive no direct financial gain. For us, it's not about the money; it's about the beauty of the bay.

DR Coat Hanger
DR Coat Hanger

Well maybe Three Rivers would have a better return if your Businesses like Blue Earth for example had tighter accounting practices. How did the investigation by the feds end up working out for ya? That Hud slush fund sure gave someone a challenge in justifying where the money went.

Coss County Resident
Coss County Resident

We don't need another Casino for one group of people to get rich , while the of us are put further in debt......

becauseisaidso
becauseisaidso

Petrie speaks for NO ONE in the tribes but himself.
People must be able to run their own life in a good way before they are considered respectable. That statement applies here.
CTCLUSI has a fair and honorable council. I'm for the tribe. A casino would be good for the community. Jobs and economic development would benefit all. I hope the tribes decide to build it! Mr. Petrie could always dis-enroll himself if he wanted to.

Concernedtribalmember
Concernedtribalmember

I must say otherwise. Mr. Petrie makes very good points that I agree with as a tribal member. He is not alone.

CTCLUSI Tribal Member
CTCLUSI Tribal Member

This is terrible news. I can't believe you would only go to one Tribal member for an opinion, and to pick a tribal member that never has anything good to say and is constantly against his own people. This is a great thing for Tribal members as well as the community. More jobs in the community sells me on the project. HANDS DOWN. Tribal members voted 2 to 1 in favor of the facility. It's going to be great... Who really cares what PETRIE has to say? I DON"T!!!!!!!
Good Day

Concernedtribalmember
Concernedtribalmember

More jobs at what cost? This facility does not help to build a healthy community, it gives more people an opportunity to build unhealthy lifestyles.

CoosIndian
CoosIndian

How is this objective news? You got the opinion of only ONE Tribal member, who has little or no credibility in this community. Did Mr. Petrie report that Tribal members voted almost a 2 to 1 in favor of this Facility. Great job reporting the news--NOT!

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