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at Bear Creek
Continuity Community Commitment
4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Welcome 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Place in this World 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Cedars at Bear Creek 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Why Medford? 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paying Our Fair Share 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Closer Look 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Caring for Each Other 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Building a Better Community, Together 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Coquille Tribe 14. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tribal Restoration 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Opportunity to Succeed 17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Tribe Today 18. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tribal Enterprises 19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Planning for the Future 20. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Awareness 21. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gaming in Oregon 22. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What’s Next
This is a project where everyone wins. We developed this booklet to introduce residents and city, county, and state officials to our Tribe, our commitment to the community, and our plans for the future. Please take some time to learn more about how our investment in Medford benefits the entire region.
The Coquille are a strong and industrious people. We have lived in this region for thousands of years and have a profound sense of connection to the land and the communities that make up Southern Oregon. We are dedicated to keeping our culture alive and creating a strong and prosperous future for our nation and the communities in which we live. Today we sustain our Tribe through endeavors in forestry, agriculture, communications, and entertainment. Our Tribal membership is expected to double in the next 20 years. To ensure that our population growth is supported by simultaneous economic growth, we are taking proactive measures to ensure a prosperous future for our Tribe and the communities we live in across a five-county region in Southern Oregon. Since 1995 we have successfully operated The Mill Casino Hotel and RV Park in Coos Bay, Oregon, creating 600 jobs and generating more than $68 million in overall economic impact to the community, including over $33.5 million in labor income for our employees. Every year we give back to the communities in which we live through substantial grants to local organizations. The Mill Casino has distributed more than $4 million in charitable grants to community organizations. Last year, we purchased a 2.4 acre parcel of land in south Medford that includes the Roxy Ann Lanes bowling center and an abandoned restaurant. We plan to develop a modest Class II gaming facility to help broaden the economic base of support for the programs we must provide to Tribal members. When complete The Cedars at Bear Creek will create hundreds of jobs and provide needed economic stimulus for both the local community and our Tribe, including housing, food, education, and medical care for our members.
“Medford and Jackson County were part of our past… we want to develop our community and work with the people who are there to make it a place we can all enjoy for our future.”
Chief Coquille Indian Tribe
A Place in this World
An Identity Restored
“It was a real struggle. The whole idea was that we become assimilated, and so you try to deny your history,” explains Chief Ken Tanner. Chief Tanner was 14 when the United States government formally terminated the Coquille Tribe. “It never worked for me. Later, when I was a young man, I began to understand my identity as a Native American… it really resonated with me. I got a good feeling of my identity, my place here on the earth, and my place with the Tribe.”
Chief Tanner has led the Coquille Indian Tribe since 1992. Born and raised in southwestern Oregon, Chief Tanner has a Masters in Social Work and has worked as a Mental Health Counselor in Jackson County for more than 22 years.
The Cedars at Bear Creek
At a Glance
A phone survey of local residents conducted at the time the project was announced showed widespread support in Medford and throughout Jackson County: 59 percent of residents strongly support the project while only 10 percent strongly oppose it.
The goal of this project is to create a Class II gaming facility in south Medford and to re-establish a location where Tribal services can be provided to members in Jackson County. The Cedars at Bear Creek will not only enhance recreational opportunities in the Rogue Valley, but will bring needed jobs and economic revitalization to the community. The project site currently consists of Roxy Ann Bowling Center, the building that housed Kim’s restaurant, and several abandoned and dilapidated structures. Most of the reconstruction will take place within the existing footprint of Roxy Ann Lanes. The bowling alley is being completely renovated with all new exterior elevations that will convey a distinctly northwestern look and feel. A Class II gaming facility differs from a Class III casino and offers only games commonly known as electronic bingo games. Players bet against each other and not against “the house.” This Class II facility cannot legally offer table games or slot games. In addition to the Class II gaming, the facility will have an upscale restaurant. The Cedars at Bear Creek has strong support from local residents for both the added recreational opportunities and the positive impact the project will have on job growth and the local economy: Initial investment of $11 million during construction Local purchases totaling $6.1 million in the first year of operations, generating another $10.4 million of output in other industries Long-term economic benefits (direct and indirect) estimated at nearly $40 million annually for Jackson County
The Cedars at Bear Creek in Medford will help secure the Tribal government’s ability to provide necessary services to its members while bringing millions of dollars into Medford and Jackson County through infrastructure investment, job creation, and the establishment of an economically viable business. One of the biggest immediate benefits to the community will be the creation of hundreds of new jobs. The Cedars at Bear Creek is projected to do the following: Create 233 full-time jobs with an average wage that is 18 percent higher than the current average wage in Jackson County Stimulate the creation of an additional 373 jobs in the community, for a total of 606 direct and indirect jobs Fill approximately 90 percent of the new jobs with community members not affiliated with the Tribe Direct payroll and benefits of more than $9 million, with an estimated $13.5 million in additional payments to other workers, producing an estimated total of more than $23 million in direct and indirect wages and benefits
“I believe that the Coquille Indian Tribe is an outstanding community partner; and I expect that their values, responsiveness, and generosity will make them valuable members of any other jurisdiction where they choose to create jobs and provide services.”
Coos Bay City Manager
“As a county commissioner, I have found the Tribe to be responsive and helpful regarding regional issues. They have been collaborative during times when collaboration is needed, and they have been eager to assist in finding local solutions. The Tribe is an asset to our community.”
–Melissa Cribbins Coos County Commissioner
A Good Fit for the Community
The Coquille Tribe carefully considered many locations before choosing Medford, Oregon, as the most suitable for this project. Some of the primary reasons for choosing Medford include the following: At the time of the Coquille Tribe’s restoration, Jackson County had the second-largest population of Tribe members. The Tribe has a strong desire to continue to provide services to its members in Jackson County. Medford has an educated population base, making it easier to recruit and retain qualified employees. The Tribe identified Medford as a viable market opportunity based on its distance from other gaming facilities. Most of the Tribe’s businesses are currently located on the Oregon coast. The Tribe believes that it is critically important to have a diverse geographic basis for revenue in the event that a disaster, such as a tsunami, causes severe damage to their coastal facilities.
The Cedars at Bear Creek will not only enhance recreational opportunities in the Rogue Valley but will also bring needed jobs and economic revitalization to the community and south Medford development.
Paying Our Fair Share
Fee-for-Service Agreements with Local Government
The Tribe understands that local jurisdictions are concerned about losing revenue once the land is placed into Trust, as the Tribe will not be required to pay taxes or other common fees that are used to support city and county services. The Coquille Tribe has fully compensated the City of North Bend for any loss of revenue associated with The Mill Casino through payments in lieu of taxes to the police department, fire department, and other local government and nongovernment organizations. As it has done in North Bend, the Tribe desires to enter into contracts that will require it to pay for local government services.
Scott Lafevre, Coquille Chief of Police, Deputy Will Krahenbuhl, Coos County Sheriff’s Department
A Closer Look
The Tribe’s fee-for-service agreement with the City of North Bend, provides ongoing support for the North Bend Police Department and other city services. In 2012, the Tribe paid more than $400,000 to North Bend, helping to fund law enforcement, fire protection, and impacts on water, storm water, and sewer services. The significant level of support helps purchase vehicles and equipment and provides for additional personnel to benefit the entire community.
“The Mill security staff, who have a zero-tolerance policy, are very professional, and with their surveillance equipment they are a great help to us in securing convictions for on-site crimes. In fact, I have hired two of them for our department.”
North Bend Police Chief
Caring for Each Other
Every Step of the Way
“I love helping people and I love working with Tribal members,” says Bridgett Wheeler with an infectious smile. Bridgett is a member and employee of the Coquille Tribe where she serves as Director of Education. Bridgett also knows first hand what it’s like to be supported by her Tribe. Three years ago Bridgett went into premature labor, giving birth to Zane and Garren Wheeler at only 33 weeks gestation. After three days, Zane weighed only two pounds and Garren just four pounds. Bridgett and her husband, Tom, virtually lived at the Eugene hospital during the 22 days their boys spent in the neonatal intensive care unit while still caring for their other children. Bridgett remembers, “The Tribe was phenomenal. They became the lifeline for our family. We had support from all areas of the Tribe, financially and emotionally, from the Council on down. They were there for us and our babies every step of the way.” Today, the twins are happy, healthy, and very active little boys. Bridgett said the amazing Tribal support reflects the Tribe’s belief in taking care of all the people in their community whether they are Tribal members or not: “The Coquille people are good stewards. We take care of the community and our people, and it benefits everyone.”
Building a Better Community, Together
The Coquille Tribal Community Fund
It’s a two-way street. In addition to the jobs and the economic benefits generated by a successful business, the Coquille Tribe has a strong tradition of giving back to the communities that help support its business endeavors.
“The Coquille Indian Tribe, through its foundation, generously provides direct and incidental support to many other nonprofit organizations in our area. Its annual grant programs assist an astonishing array of groups providing essential human services,
The fund reflects the Tribe’s commitment to playing a positive, proactive role in the well-being of the community as a whole.
In 2001 the Tribe established the Coquille Tribal Community Fund to set aside a portion of The Mill Casino profits for nonprofit organizations that include public works and cultural enrichment within the Tribe’s five-county geographic area. The fund reflects the Tribe’s commitment to playing a positive, proactive role in the well-being of the community as a whole. This competitive grant-making program provides financial support to projects in education, health, public safety, arts and culture, and historic preservation. Since its inception the fund has distributed $4.1 million to support charitable and community projects in five counties in southwestern Oregon, including Jackson County. These include programs that focus on education, feeding the hungry, taking care of the children and the elders, and providing for veterans.
as well as arts and cultural entities… the Coquille Indian Tribe has a strong track record of very real commitment to positive community collaboration and broadly beneficial community outcomes in our area.”
–Anne W. Donnelly
Executive Director Coos Historical and Maritime Museum
The Coquille Tribe
A Rich Heritage in Southern Oregon
The Coquille people have lived in the southwest region of Oregon for thousands of years. Prior to the arrival of settlers, the Coquille had permanent villages in places that are now called Coos Bay, Cape Blanco, Port Orford, Charleston, Bandon, and Cape Arago, to name a few. They lived in cedar plank houses and traveled by foot and canoe throughout the region. The Coquille had a powerful connection to the land—sustaining their people on the bountiful fishing, hunting, and native plants found throughout southwestern Oregon. Indian villages and extended families along the Coquille River and the south coast were linked to villages in the Rogue River Valley by kinship, marriage, and shared cultural practices, including trade, communal hunting and gathering activities, and shared spiritual practices. These gatherings were also a time for celebration and dance. The Rogue River was a major trading route that promoted not only trade but also intermarriage and communal activities. Current members of the Coquille Tribe are direct descendants of Rogue River Indians and Umpqua Indians.
Continued on page 14
The Coquille Tribe is a community whose binding thread is their Coquille identity; where members give to and receive from the Tribe; and where tribal sovereignty and culture are exercised and protected by decisions and actions that are based on the long-term sustainable health and well-being of the Tribe and the region.
Continued from page 13
The Coquille Tribe’s ancestral territory encompassed more than 700,000 acres. In 1855 the Coquille signed a treaty in good faith with the US government that acknowledged the Tribe’s rights to large portions of its homeland as well as money for schools and investments in agriculture. Congress never ratified this treaty, however, and the subsequent generations of Coquille were denied a permanent homeland until modern times. In 1856 the Coquille, along with other Indian tribes, were forcibly marched north to the Siletz Reservation. In 1954 the US government terminated its recognition of the Coquille Tribe. Over the past 150 years, Tribal members established homes throughout five different counties in Southern Oregon. At the time of its restoration and recognition Jackson County was home to the second-largest population of Coquille. Despite the effort to disband the Coquille Tribe, they continued to function as a sovereign government and family. A dedicated effort by the Tribe resulted in the restoration of its federal tribal status under the Coquille Restoration Act, which became law in 1989. The Coquille Restoration Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust in “the area composed of Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, and Lane Counties” (25 USC § 715(5)). As lands in these counties are placed into trust for the Tribe, the lands are restored to reservation status and can be used to create the same economic opportunities as any other reservation land. Since restoration the Coquille Tribe has acquired approximately 7,000 acres of forestland, farmland, and residential and commercial-retail property.
Opportunity to Succeed
Taking Care of Our Community
“I thought if I could stand and talk to people all day that it would be such a great job,” laughs Kippy Robbins. While growing up on the Oregon coast, she aspired to work as a checker at the local grocery store. Later, Kippy realized that she wanted much more out of life. “I didn’t have the money to go to school, but I knew that as a Tribal member I had the opportunity to go.” Kippy said, “I had to work full time and take care of my kids, but the Tribe never gave up on me.” Over the next 13 years, she earned her bachelor’s degree. Once Kippy graduated, she set her sights on a master’s degree in mental health. Four years later, she began work as a mental health therapist. “I got the financial support and the psychological support I needed to succeed, because the Tribe was always just one phone call away no matter what was going on,” said Kippy. “We know life is reciprocal—if we take care of our families and our communities, they will take care of us.”
The Tribe Today
Investing in the Future
With restoration to tribal status in 1989, the Coquille Tribe began a thoughtful long-term planning effort with the goal of economic diversification and tribal self-sufficiency. The Coquille Restoration Act provided economic tools, including gaming, that the Tribe could use to fulfill its obligation to serve its members and their needs. Today the Coquille Tribe has an established track record of running successful businesses.
“We as a Coquille people live in balance with our land. We believe in only taking what we need, always leaving some for our future generations.”
The Tribe is now the second-largest employer in Coos County and has reinvested millions of dollars directly into the community.
The Tribe strives to develop and maintain profitable businesses that foster excellence, opportunity, and respect for Tribal values, the environment, and the community. Tribal members do not receive any direct proceeds from gaming or other revenue streams in per capita payments. Instead, the income from Tribal businesses allows the Coquille Tribal Council to provide a broad base of important services to Tribal members. These programs include health and human services, law enforcement, natural resource management, housing assistance, and education. The ability of the Tribal government to be self-sufficient in providing these basic services helps create a sense of community and shared purpose among the Coquille. These programs also take the place of services that would otherwise fall to local and state governments, freeing up resources for others in need.
Chief Coquille Indian Tribe
Successful Existing Operations
ribal enterprises help the regional economy by creating new jobs and by spending millions each year on local goods and services. The Coquille Tribe’s multifaceted operations are founded on core Tribal values: honesty, integrity, and teamwork.
The Mill Casino Hotel and RV Park
A premier south coast destination, The Mill Casino offers a winning combination of Nevada-style gaming, varied dining options, worldclass entertainment, and gracious accommodations—all in an atmosphere of Northwest-inspired comfort and friendly service.
Bear Creek Golf Course
The Coquille Tribe leases the 31-acre golf course nestled along a portion of beautiful Bear Creek in Medford, Oregon. The facilities include a 9-hole executive layout, full-line pro shop, covered driving range, two practice greens, and a snack bar.
ORCA builds fiber-optic and wireless communications networks and is dedicated to providing rural communities with low-cost fiber-optic/broadband access to link Coos Bay Area regional businesses and institutions to national and global markets. ORCA Communications with employees now in Colorado and Oregon, was recently awarded an SBA 8a designation, allowing ORCA to compete nationally for federal contracts with the goal of additional employment and expansion opportunities.
The Coquille Tribe manages just over 5,400 acres of forestland in the Coquille Forest. The ongoing sustainable harvesting on this forestland provides jobs for the local timber industry, keeps regional sawmills in business, and protects the region’s watershed and other natural resources. The Coquille Forest has been certified as an environmentally sound and sustainable forest by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Perpetua Power Source Technologies, Inc.
Perpetua Power Source is a startup company in Corvallis, Oregon that develops and manufactures advanced renewable-energy solutions that enable its customers to develop, deploy, and benefit from next-generation wireless sensor applications.
Planning for the Future
The Coquille Tribal Council
Today Tribal members benefit from services provided by their Tribal government across five counties in Southern Oregon as well as Tribal members who reside beyond its geographic boundaries. A democratically elected sevenmember Tribal Council is the Coquille’s governing body, overseeing broad-based programs that support the health, education, housing, disease prevention, law enforcement, and general welfare of the tribal community. The Tribe’s demographics underscore the need for the Tribal government to take proactive measures to ensure a sustainable future for the Tribe. More than 60 percent of the Tribe’s members are under 30 years old, and 94 percent are under 65 years old. Tribal membership is projected to double in the next 20 years. The Coquille Tribal Council is constantly looking ahead to balance the Tribe’s current needs against the long-term needs of future generations. By investing in The Cedars at Bear Creek, the Tribe is taking the next step to ensure its long-term economic stability for generations to come.
Sharon Parrish Representative #2 Eric Metcalf Representative #3 Ken Tanner Chief
Brenda Meade Chairperson
Toni Ann Brend Vice-Chair
Joan Metcalf Secretary/Treasurer
Kippy Robbins Representative #1
“We work with the local Fire Marshal, City Water System, and Building Inspectors to ensure that all building codes and requirements are met. We contract with City Police and Fire Departments to provide us services. We have an excellent relationship with local law enforcement. They provide us support and we assist them when needed. I have been in law enforcement my entire life and I can guarantee you that the casinos in this state are some of the safest places you can visit.”
Chair The Coquille Gaming Commission
Responsible Recreational Opportunities
The development of a gaming facility in south Medford has raised concerns about potential security issues, crime, and problem gambling. The Coquille Tribe’s experience at The Mill Casino in North Bend and the experience of other cities with casinos provide strong evidence that this project will not contribute to significant increases in any of these problem areas. The Cedars at Bear Creek will have a fully staffed and professionally trained security team. The team will utilize state-of-the-art video surveillance equipment and will be under the regulation of the Coquille Gaming Commission as well as the National Indian Gaming Commission. Most studies of the actual impact of legalized gaming facilities show that a net positive impact comes from the additional jobs and the economic stimulus that legalized gaming brings to a community. A study by the University of Chicago for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that “in communities proximate to newly opened casinos, per capita rates of bankruptcy, health indicators, and violent crimes are not significantly changed.” In communities with legalized gaming facilities, studies show an actual drop in welfare and unemployment insurance payments as more jobs become available.
Under federal law the Medford Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff’s office will have the same authority to respond to any disturbance or criminal activity on this property that they would have anywhere else in the city.
Gaming in Oregon
Putting It in Perspective
By any measure gaming is already common in Jackson County, with more than 114 gaming establishments featuring 574 video lottery terminals (VLTs) throughout the geographic area. In Jackson County VLTs are found in many local bars, pizza parlors, mini-marts, and other retail establishments, and they generate approximately $30 million in annual sales. Oregonians spend more than $1 billion on the Oregon State Lottery each year, and there are nine Tribes that operate legalized gaming facilities throughout the state. By bringing a Class II gaming facility to Medford, the Coquille Tribe is increasing the recreational quality of the gaming experience, not necessarily the ease of access to gaming, which already exists at more than 100 locations throughout the city. Gaming has become an accepted form of recreation and an important revenue source for the state and the tribes that operate legal facilities. Approximately 80 percent of Oregonians have gambled at least once, and more than 60 percent have gambled in the past year. Although the vast majority of people who gamble do so responsibly, there is a very small percentage of the population that develops problems with gambling. The Tribe has no desire to profit from anyone who is not gambling solely for recreation. Oregon does more than any other state to prevent gambling problems. The State allocates 1 percent of all revenue generated by the Oregon Lottery into treatment centers and preventive education across the state. The Tribe likewise invests a portion of its proceeds to help fund organizations that provide free and easily accessible help for gambling problems.
Looking Ahead at Next Steps
Following its purchase of 2.42 acres of commercial property in south Medford, the Coquille Tribe submitted a request to the Secretary of the Interior to have the land transferred into trust for the Tribe and restored to reservation status according to the Coquille Restoration Act. This request has triggered review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a lengthy 2 to 3 year federal process that emphasizes transparency and collaboration with state and local agencies and provides multiple opportunities for public input and comment. The process involves the following steps: A federal determination that the land qualifies as restored land for gaming activity; A detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing the impacts of the fee-to-trust decision; and A federal decision on whether to approve a fee-to-trust transfer. Local agencies, including the City and the County, are invited to formally participate in the NEPA process as Cooperating Agencies. The NEPA process will thoroughly analyze the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the Coquille Tribe’s proposal as well as alternatives to the proposed action and a “no action” alternative. The Tribe welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the City and the County as Cooperating Agencies. The Tribe is also fully supportive of the public comment process and is committed to the transparency and the opportunity for input embodied in the process. During this process the Tribe will actively engage with local community leaders to ensure the project is as beneficial to Medford and Jackson County as The Mill Casino has been for North Bend, Coos Bay, and Coos County.
Sign Up for Updates
To receive notifications about public meetings and deadlines for public comments, please visit www.medfordwins.com and sign up for our e-mail alerts. For the latest updates on the Environmental Impact Statement process visit www.coquilleeis.com.
Coquille Tribal Outreach Office
1257 N. Riverside Ave., Suite 13 Medford, OR 97501 Telephone: (541) 756-0904 Fax: (541) 756-0847 medfordwins.com
© 2013 Coquille Indian Tribe. All rights reserved. 003 · REV 091913