The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde purchased the former Multnomah Greyhound Park in Wood Village, Oregon last October and demolition is set to proceed this week, according to a press release from tribal officials. Although the announcement of the sale last year caused a lot of speculation over whether the tribe would try to open a second casino in addition to their Spirit Mountain Casino, the likelihood of that is unknown due to a perception among some that a law exists declaring “One Tribe, one casino.”
The tribe is party to legal proceedings intended to stop the Cowlitz Tribe in Washington from completing and opening a new casino near La Center, and the move to purchase the track property located in the Portland Metro area was seen as a possible way for the confederation to keep control of the populous Portland market which is home to over two and a quarter million people. La Center is about 30 miles north of Portland.
The Grand Ronde paid about $10 million for the park which ran dog racing under various names from 1957 until the owners decided to not renew their lease in 2004, signalling the end of greyhound racing there, or anywhere else in Oregon. Ballot measures to authorize a commercial casino on the site were defeated in 2010 and 2012. The Grand Ronde were staunchly opposed to the site being used for casino gambling fearing competition against their Polk County casino.
Spirit Mountain is the largest casino in Oregon and draws not only from the Portland market but from Salem as well.
On March 3, 2016 the city of Vancouver, Clark County, various interests associated with La Center card rooms, an ad-hoc group, and the Grand Ronde sought an injunction to stop the Cowlitz from continuing construction on their casino until an appeal could be heard. No hastened injunction was issued and the tribe continues to proceed with development in spite of stop work orders from the county and threats of arrests on reservation property if certain road work continues.
Konell Construction and Demolition Corp. of Sandy, Oregon will begin the work of dismantling the aged buildings later this week in accordance with EPA guidelines on asbestos and lead abatement. Heavy equipment should be able to move in for quick demolition and reclamation within 2 months and the work should be completed by mid August.
The tribe said it is, “eyeing the property in an effort to diversify its economic opportunities in Oregon, and to help generate activity in the city of Wood Village.” In October the tribe did not rule out a casino for the property but also said it was considering a mixed-use concept of housing and commercial space at the site.
This article has been updated to remove a statement referring to a supposed law in Oregon that limits the state’s nine tribes to a single casino. Further research shows that although some tribes have such a clause in their gaming compacts, we’ve been unable to find any such codified law. In fact at least two tribes have previously opened additional casinos – one a Class III operating under tribal state compact, and the other Class II, which casinos do not operate under compacts.