|Proposed site for Casino (click to enlarge)|
The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians are revisiting plans to bring a casino to North Salem, aiming to wrest customers from the popular Ilani Casino Resort that recently opened in southern Washington....You probably saw news about traffic and parking on Ilani's first day:
The unnamed casino announced Tuesday is expected to open in 2021 near the intersection of Interstate 5 and Portland Road NE near exit 258. It would bring 1,500 full-time jobs to a roughly 140,000-square-foot facility within the first year of its opening. Tribal officials project the facility will cost $280 million to build.
The opening of the Ilani Casino near La Center clogged northbound Interstate 5 for as far as eight miles Monday morning, and cars were turned away after the casino's parking lots reached capacity.The Portland Road redevelopment project could see a Casino as a benefit:
The Washington State Department of Transportation said the casino's lots were full, causing the backup to spill onto the highway. The casino has said it could accommodate 3,000 vehicles.
Jason Cox, who chairs the Northgate Neighborhood Association, said the association hadn't discussed the proposal. But in his own opinion, he figured the casino could have pros and cons.The City could indeed work with the Tribes to fund improvements to Portland Road - but at what cost of widening to Ward/Astoria, additional cars, parking lot wasteland, and supremely unwalkable, big box redevelopment?
"This would be a game-changer for North Salem, with major upside and serious impacts. In addition to infrastructure, if this goes through I'm hopeful the Siletz tribes will partner with us in transforming the Portland Road area into a gateway all of Salem can be proud of," Cox said.
That we fund parts of the State via the Lottery and Video Poker, and that we fund Tribal entities via Casinos and gambling is also not a very just way to accomplish legitimate State and Tribal ends.
It is not, in fact, something about which we should be very proud, and the City should be very cautious about the nature of the trade-offs a project like this entails. It might be "a game-changer" with "major upside," but the City should be very confident the benefits will actually pan out, and not create additional problems or infrastructure liabilities. Skepticism is warranted, and it will be very interesting to follow this as it develops.