Tribe puts hope in new casino

| Print |  Email
Articles - Jan/Feb 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012

By Linda Baker

0112_Casino_01
Above: Construction crews work on the new Indian Head Casino on Highway 26 near the Warm Springs Museum. Below: Warm Springs tribal council members Reuben Henry, Scott Moses and Olney "JP" Patt Jr. voted last February to relocate the Kah-Nee-Ta casino. The new facility, which is expected to generat 200 jobs, is scheduled to open on Feb. 4.
// Photos by Alexandra Shyshkina
0112_Casino_02

On a Tuesday in January, employees at the Kah-Nee-Ta tribal casino undertook an arduous task: dismantling 300 slot machines in four hours, to be reassembled at the casino’s new temporary location about 10 miles away on Highway 26. “It was amazing,” says Ken Billingsley, manager of the Indian Head Casino, which is scheduled to open Feb. 4. Taking apart the machines was supposed to be at least a one-day project, says Billingsley. “But these people were all over it. Morale is sky high.”

The day after the dismantling, Billingsley and about a half dozen tribal leaders gathered at the construction site to discuss the reasons for moving the casino to its new location, across the highway from the Warm Springs Museum. The Kah-Nee-Ta gambling facility, which opened in 1995 and is now closed, was situated at the end of a long and winding road and generated about $3 million annually. The 40,000-square-foot temporary casino, almost twice the size of the original, is expected to generate about $12 million annually, along with 200 new jobs.

Despite the economic benefits, tribal members say the temporary casino is just that — a placeholder as the 5,040-member tribe continues to pursue a controversial off-reservation casino in Cascade Locks. An economic study commissioned by the tribe shows that Cascade Locks “is the best location to meet all the tribe’s needs,” says Deepak Sehgal, board chairman of Indian Head Casino. “We’re not taking our eyes off that.”

Like much of rural Oregon, the Confederated Tribes depended for many years on resource extraction; at its peak in the 1980s, an onsite mill produced 110 million board feet annually. The tribe’s focus on timber resources, as well as a conservative leadership style, caused Warm Springs “to miss the curve” when it came to tribal gaming opportunities, says Olney “JP” Patt Jr., a council member. Tribal leaders made the dubious decision to site the Kah-Nee-Tah casino in a remote location; they also missed a key 1988 deadline to purchase tribal trust land in Cascade Locks, a move that might have facilitated construction of the proposed venue in the Columbia River Gorge.

 



 

More Articles

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.

0315 input01 620px

 

Reader comments:

"I feel private enterprises are capable of operating at a higher efficiency than state government."

"This has been used in Oregon since the mid-1800s. It is not a new financing method. This form of financing may help Oregon close its infrastructure deficit by leveraging funds."


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS