Gov. Brown Echoes Kitzhaber on Medford Project

Gov. Brown Echoes Kitzhaber on Medford Project


The Coquille Indian Tribe today expressed deep disappointment in Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to embrace the “Kitzhaber Doctrine” on Indian gaming.

 “I am saddened that Gov. Brown rushed to judgment on the Coquille Tribe’s economic development project in Medford,” said tribal Chairperson Brenda Meade. “She did so before a single page of analysis has been completed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.”

 The governor phoned Meade this week to say she planned to oppose development of The Cedars at Bear Creek, a Class II casino proposed for Coquille-owned property in Medford. She told Meade she would deliver a letter next week to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is responsible for evaluating the tribe’s application.

 Like former Gov. John Kitzhaber, Brown invoked an unwritten policy that purportedly limits each Oregon tribe to one casino. Meade dismissed the one-casino rule as “political fantasy.”

 The policy appears in no state law, executive order or official policy.  The Coquille Tribe’s gaming compact with the state puts no limit on Class II (video terminal) gaming by the tribe.

 “By embracing the Kitzhaber Doctrine on Indian gaming, Gov. Brown will only deepen the economic disparity among Indian tribes in Oregon and block those most in need from exercising their legal rights under federal law,” Meade said. “I hope Gov. Brown will reconsider her position and be an advocate for all of Oregon’s Indian people.”

 The Coquille Tribe is awaiting the BIA’s release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on The Cedars. Publication of that document will trigger a public comment period, including a public hearing.

Contact: Clark Walworth, Tribal Communications Officer, (541) 751-7491 or cell (541) 808-7832 or e-mail