Washington Tribe Eyes First of Year to Begin Casino Construction

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe of Washington state could break ground on its $500 million casino resort in La Center early next year. The casino will take advantage of a location near Interstate 5 in the Portland metro area.

Washington Cowlitz Indian Tribe is looking at beginning construction of its 0 million La Center casino resort near Portland sometime after the first of the New Year. The project is planned for 152 acres near Interstate 5.

The project, designed by the Friedmutter Group, will be assembled in stages. Tribal leaders are somewhat hesitant about predicting dates because they just recently overcame the legal challenges that assailed the project for nearly a decade. But they are looking at possibly opening in 2017.

The tribe achieved federal recognition in 2007.

Only one legal appeal remains. Tribal Chairman Bill Iyall told the Southwest Washington Business Journal, “We expect that the latest court appeal to be resolved in our favor.” Opponents of the casino lost in federal court in March, but chose to appeal.

The tribe doesn’t need to wait for the appeal ruling to begin construction. The first building, overseen by Swinerton Builders, to go in will likely be the single-story 100,000 square foot casino itself. The casino design harkens back to the tribe’s Pacific Northwest heritage with heavy emphasis on wood and stone. Later phases will include a tribal administration building, a hotel, an entertainment venue, a convention center, dining, retail and some residential.

Besides that the tribe has committed to building a $190 million interchange to help direct traffic to the casino.

The project is backed financially by the Mohegan tribe, operators of the Mohegan Sun. Its most implacable foe has been the Grand Ronde tribe, which operates the Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon.