Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians to build casino

It would be Oregon's first inter-tribal gaming facility

An artist rendering of where the proposed casino would go in North Salem, May 2, 2017 (Courtesy: Confederated Tribes of the Siletz)
An artist rendering of where the proposed casino would go in North Salem, May 2, 2017 (Courtesy: Confederated Tribes of the Siletz)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Just 9 days after the Cowlitz Tribe opened a casino in La Center, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians announced plans to build a casino in North Salem.

The casino, slated to open in 2021, is estimated to bring $185.4 million in gross revenue and 1,500 full-time jobs the first year of operation, tribal officials said. The facility will be built on the Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indian’s reservation property located off I-5 at exit 258.

If it comes to be, this casino “will give Oregon Tribes the opportunity to come together to share 25% of the net revenue of the entertainment facility,” officials said in a press release.

The Siletz Tribe hopes other tribes will join in as part of the Inter-Tribal Partnership Project. The other participating tribes will share revenue, but if they do take part in a revenue-sharing arrangement, they will be asked to give up their right to build a different casino in Oregon.

“We always had plans to develop this property that we own in Salem,” the chairman of the Siletz Tribal Council, Delores Pigsley, told KOIN 6 News.

Tribal leaders hoped to build a casino on this property back in the early 1990s. That plan didn’t work, and now they’re trying again with a renewed sense of urgency. In a statement, Pigsley said, “As a Tribal community, we have a responsibility to preserve and grow jobs and revenue in Oregon. These funds directly support family wage jobs and healthcare, education, environmental, housing and transportation programs throughout the state.”

Though they already have the Chinook Winds casino in Lincoln City, Pigsley said the Siletz tribe “will probably see a result in a loss of revenues” because of the ilani Casino Resort.

On April 24, the ilani Casino Resort opened in La Center to overflowing crowds, gigantic traffic jams and enough glitter for Vegas. The $510 million facility finally opened after years of lawsuits and counter-suits. It’s expected to generate more than $400 million in revenue.

Building this casino, she said, is a plan “to keep money that would normally go north, to keep it in Oregon.”

Pigsley said the demands for another casino are there. “I don’t think we’ve even touched the limits of people who are looking for an entertainment venue.”

Shawna Ridgebear, the director of marketing for Spirit Mountain, said any business would be concerned about new competitors. But competition from ilani, so far doesn’t seem to have affected Spirit Mountain’s business.

“Spirit Mountain has a very strong presence in the community,” Ridgebear said. “We’ve been here for 21-plus years, we have a very loyal employee base, a very loyal customer base and we’ll adjust when we have to.”

Ridgebear said they’ve seen some of their busiest days on the gaming floor and in the buffet on the days since iliani opened, which she attributes to the fact that the casinos attract a different kind of guest.