Wednesday, February 20, 2002
I deplore the tribal spokesperson, Mr. Greg Leo's scare tactics regarding the "inevitability" of a casino in Hood River. And that is what they are -- simply scare tactics.
The Warm Springs Tribal Council has begun an intensive ad campaign to persuade their members to vote for a Hood River casino instead of a reservation casino; and to instill fear in the citizens of Hood River that an eastside casino is inevitable; therefore, citizens should lobby for a Cascade Locks site, as our only hope. (I don't believe for a minute that the Cascade Locks issue is dead or that it is the only alternative.) The Tribal Council ads, like Mr. Leo's statements, are filled with misinformation.
Numerous government entities and the public have strongly opposed the fee-to-trust land transfer of the Tribe's newly acquired land and have effectively bottlenecked that process by moving the decision to Washington DC. The Tribal Council is now "putting the cart before the horse" in mis-informing their members and Hood River citizens that they have an inalienable right to build a casino on their 40-acre trust parcel.
The Oregon tribal gaming compacts are uniquely site-specific. Moving the Indian Head Casino to Hood River would require PRIOR State and BIA approval and would trigger numerous State and Federal compliance laws, (e.g. NEPA including a full EIS, National Historic Preservation Act, Clean Air and Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act). Even with sovereign nation and trust status, the Tribe is NOT exempt from these laws, and it is highly unlikely they can come into compliance.
The Tribe did not follow proper procedures in their fee-to-trust application. They have now built an illegal road on non-trust land. It is the duty and obligation of both the State and the BIA to require the Tribe to follow State and Federal laws and to insist that they refrain from printing and stating misleading and inaccurate information. Please write Governor Kitzhaber and ask him to deliver this long overdue message to the Tribe. A casino in the Gorge is NOT inevitable.
No Casino coordinator, Hood River
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