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Casino at Cascade Locks May Not Be Built

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December 26, 2007

CASCADE LOCKS - Plans have stalled for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to build a casino and resort in Cascade Locks. The gambling facility would be one of the biggest in the Northwest.

Local officials have embraced the project. Mayor Roger Freeborn says "Whether people like it or not, there's money to be made in the casino business, not only for the tribe, but for the city, the county and the state." The proposal has also been accepted by Governor Ted Kulongoski.

However, after millions of dollars of planning over the past decade, the casino may never be built. Several opposition factors have come into play:

The proposed site is off-reservation land and U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne refuses to approve off-reservation casinos.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, which runs a competing casino outside Salem, is running a well-financed campaign against the casino.

The Oregon Department of Transportation decided a new freeway interchange to the casino would not meet state safety standards.

Warm Springs officials insist the project is still a priority and will continue to pursue its reality.

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