Appeals court clears way for Cowlitz Tribe casino

Two groups challenged the decision

Construction is underway for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe's casino in Northwest Clark County after more than a decade of legal battles. (KOIN)
Construction is underway for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe's casino in Northwest Clark County after more than a decade of legal battles. (KOIN)

LA CENTER, Wash. (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld the Interior Department’s decision to grant a reservation to the Cowlitz Tribe in southwestern Washington, rejecting efforts to block the construction of a $510 million casino and resort on the land.

The Columbian newspaper reports that the ruling, handed down Friday by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, affirmed a 2014 ruling by U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle.

The Cowlitz rejected treaty offers from the government in the 19th century, which left them without a reservation. They were formally recognized in 2002, and the Interior Department subsequently agreed to take a parcel near La Center into trust for the tribe’s reservation.

Two groups challenged the decision to take the land into trust and to allow casino gaming: nearby homeowners and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, which operates a competing casino.

Workers reveal the name of the new Cowlitz casino resort. June 20, 2016 (KOIN)
Workers reveal the name of the new Cowlitz casino resort. June 20, 2016 (KOIN)

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