(Photo courtesy of The Cedars at Bear Creek / Facebook) MEDFORD, Ore. — The Coquille Tribe of Oregon’s southern coast expressed shock and anger on Thursday night after a decision by officials with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to deny their proposal to build a casino in Medford.
The casino project, dubbed The Cedars at Bear Creek, would have been located along S Pacific Highway in south Medford at the former site of Kim’s Restaurant. Debate over the proposal has gone on for years.
Coquille Tribal Chairman Brenda Meade called the ruling a “complete disregard for the federally mandated decision process,” criticising the Bureau of Indian Affairs for its “abrupt” decision to no longer consider the tribe’s application to take that land into trust.
“Instead of a fair and open process, this agency has turned to the hidden, back-room dealing that is the hallmark of an overly political process – a process that federal law repeatedly has tried to prevent,” Meade said.
According to the Coquille Tribe, they received the decision in a May 27 letter from Indian Affairs principal deputy assistant secretary John Tahsuda. According to Meade, the decision “ignored the government’s own established procedures” to ensure that gaming decisions are based on fact instead of politics.
“By ending the normal, fact-based process for making trust land decisions, Tahsuda has silenced the many people in the community who are supporting our efforts,” Meade said. “He also is denying our local officials the opportunity to express their growing appreciation for the tribe’s work […]