FLORENCE, OR-The Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians are a step closer to no longer being the only federally-recognized Oregon tribe without a casino following a vote last week by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Reversing a 1999 decision, the bureau gave the property the necessary “restored land” classification that allows gaming. The next step is to negotiate the required compact with the state regarding the kind of games allowed and the required state oversight, among other things. Negotiations could begin as early as January.

The 700-member tribe wants to build a $15-to $20-million casino on 100 acres it purchased in 1998 just outside Florence, up the North Fork of the Siuslaw River. It would provide 500 to 750 full and part-time jobs and possibly lessen the tribe’s dependence on federal dollars for subsistence needs such as housing, education and health care.

Florence is located on the waterfront below Highway 101′s Siuslaw River Bridge. It is known for riverboat cruises, lighthouses, art galleries, antique stores and specialty shops and restaurants serving regional foods and wines.

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