The Grand Ronde Tribe in Oregon announced Thursday that they are  purchasing the Multnomah Greyhound Park, a racetrack that is no longer functioning in the Wood Village area near Portland. With the announcement, it has been rumored that the tribe may be planning on creating a casino on the site.

The tribe has fought for many years against private investors who have been interested in the racetrack as a casino facility. They have been successful in keeping any competition away from their Spirit Mountain Casino southwest of Portland.

Officials of the tribe stated that purchase of the racetrack will ensure that there is no competition from a casino and they plan on using the 31 acre area as a mixed-use development. The tribe did not rule out the option of creating a casino down the road.

If the tribe decides to open a new casino, they would have to beat several regulatory hurdles. According to state policy in Oregon, a tribe is limited to one casino and it must be located on reservation lands.

Matthew Rossman, an attorney in Lake Oswego who worked toward landing a private casino at the track in the past, believes the tribe has purchased the land to try and defeat competition from the Cowlitz tribe who is planning a casino in La Center, Washington. Rossman stated that the Washington-based Cowlitz tribe’s plans are a real threat to the state of Oregon. With a gaming facility closer to Portland, it could help to keep Oregon residents from traveling to Washington State to gamble, keeping the revenues in Oregon.

The Multnomah Greyhound Park purchase price was not disclosed but we do know that the owner had listed the track earlier this year for $11.2 million. City officials of Wood Village spoke with the officials of the tribe for many months before the purchase, but still do not know that the tribe intends to do with the land. The Grande Ronde tribe currently operates the largest casino in the state, Spirit Mountain Casino, which is located near both Salem and Portland.