Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Prospect of a new Casino on Portland Road

Proposed site for Casino (click to enlarge)
So the big news yesterday was the proposal for a Casino in land wedged between I-5 and Portland Road.
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....

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.
You probably saw news about traffic and parking on Ilani's first day:
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 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.
The Portland Road redevelopment project could see a Casino as a benefit:
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.

"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.
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?

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.


Mike said...

I see no pros. Poor paying service jobs, auto-dependent, massive parking lot, ugly (if every other casino I've ever seen in the US is any indication), and devastating to the Grande Ronde casino. Plus, should it ever close, the whole site would have to be razed because the building will not be adaptable.

Anonymous said...

Second that. I'll add that it will require more money and resources for addiction counseling and treatment. It will also drain more money from our poorer citizens and communities of color. Go to Spirit Mountain and look and the clientel. This would be devastating for Salem. And at a time when this are starting to look up.

Anonymous said...

Someone who went to a neighborhood meeting about it wrote on facebook at the City Council group page:

"I attended the Northgate Neighborhood Association tonight to listen to Delores Pigsley the Siletz Tribal Chair tell us about the planned casino at Portland Road and I5. My takeaway is that this will create more business for local businesses and add 1,300 low paying "living-wage" permanent jobs. Half the profits will be exported to other tribes mostly outside the area. The state government will get 25% of profits but the cities and county will receive no new revenues. We will get new infrastructure and policing costs. Sounds like we will be sharing costs or roadway improvements. No new housing will be included in development. Overall this development sounds like it will be a net negative for Salem with most of the revenue leaving the area. Perhaps the State government will send some revenue our way."

Anonymous said...