Openings & Closings

Cowlitz Tribe unveils $32M highway project as casino debut nears

Yesterday we saw 400+ of our new team members for orientation. They can't wait to see all of you when we open!

Posted by ilani on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

ilani on Facebook: Team Member Orientation

It's been a big week so far for the Cowlitz Tribe and its long-awaited casino in Washington.

First, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put an end to a lawsuit that challenged the status of the tribe's new reservation. The case was being closely watched across Indian Country because it affected the way tribes restore their homelands. through the land-into-trust process.

Just a day later, the tribe unveiled a $32 million highway interchange that will bring visitors to the reservation. The project is part of the $500 million ilani Casino Resort, which is due to open by the end of the month.

“It’s been obviously a long road for the Cowlitz,” Chairman Bill Iyall said at the ceremony on Tuesday, The Longview Daily News reported.

The tribe expects to see between 8,000 to 12,000 daily visitors to the 152-acre reservation, the paper reported. Many will be coming from the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area -- the casino is only about 25 miles from the city's downtown.

The tribe has hired more than 1,000 people to work at ilani, whose name comes from the Salish word for "sing." The facility features 2,500 slot machines, 75 table games and 15 restaurants, along with 3,000 parking spaces, KGW reported.

The Mohegan Tribe, based in Connecticut, helped finance the project. Its leaders stood by the Cowlitz through more than a decade of regulatory reviews and legal challenges.

“This is a day that both the Mohegan and Cowlitz tribes have anticipated coming for years,” Mohega Chairman Kevin Brown said in a statement, The New London Day reported.

Read More on the Story:
New I-5 interchange aims to ease casino traffic (The Longview Daily News 4/5)
All in: How the $510 million ilani casino will change the region's economy (KGW 4/4)
West Coast casino project involving Mohegans clears last legal hurdle (The New London Day 4/4)
Supreme Court denies hearing for casino case (The Columbian 4/3)

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon v. Jewell (July 29, 2016)

Federal Register Notices:
Cowlitz Indian Tribe Liquor Ordinance (March 23, 2017)
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (November 13, 2015)
Land Acquisitions; Cowlitz Indian Tribe (May 8, 2013)

Department of the Interior Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

Related Stories:
Indian Country secures victory with end to long-running land case (April 3, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe thanks Secretary Zinke as casino opening approaches (April 3, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe brings even more food options to forthcoming casino
(March 31, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe brings Michael Jordan's Steakhouse to new casino
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Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears
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Cowlitz Tribe casino seen as impacting lottery revenues in Oregon
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Supreme Court considers petition in casino land-into-trust dispute
(March 20, 2017)
Trump administration backs Cowlitz Tribe in Supreme Court brief
(March 7, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe getting closer to April opening of long-awaited casino
( February 9, 2017)
Trump team gets more time for brief in Supreme Court tribal casino case
( January 31, 2017)