Tribe plans appeal of Cowlitz casino decision
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein ruled in favor of the Department of the Interior’s decision to take land into trust for a casino for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe near La Center, Wash., on Friday, Dec. 12.
The Cowlitz Tribe has been trying unsuccessfully since 2002 to take approximately 152 acres into trust near La Center – about 15 miles north of the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area – so that it can build a casino on the property.
“We need to do more analysis of the Court’s reasoning, but the Grand Ronde Tribe strongly disagrees with its opinion,” said Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno. “We think the Court missed many of the salient issues and facts. Our Tribe has remained vigilant throughout this process. We have always believed this case would be decided at the appellate level and we are prepared to appeal it.”
The City of Vancouver, nearby property owners, Citizens Against Reservation Shopping and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde have filed lawsuits against the proposal, stating, that among other things, the Cowlitz Tribe’s traditional homelands are about 60 miles farther north in the Toledo, Wash., area.
In addition, Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler, whose district the proposed casino would be located in, has also voiced her opposition to the Cowlitz proposal.