After purchasing the derelict Multnomah Greyhound Park in October, the Confederated Tribes Of The Grand Ronde Community has revealed that it now wants to build an eight-story hotel along with an “entertainment-orientated campus” on the 31-acre site.
According to a report from The Outlook newspaper, the Oregon tribe spent $10 million to purchase the former racetrack in the Portland suburb of Wood Village but currently has no plans to include a casino in the new development as to do so would require several steps at state and federal levels and could take many years to complete.
“There’s a lot of hurdles for [gaming],” Reyn Leno, Chairman for the Grand Ronde Tribal Council, told the Portland Tribune newspaper.
Leno stated that the tribe has started demolition work at the site while declaring that the whole project is part of a larger effort that also includes plans to renovate its Spirit Mountain Casino, which is located approximately 75 miles away in the community of Grand Ronde.
The Outlook reported that the plans from the Confederated Tribes Of The Grand Ronde Community include a 115-foot hotel next door to an amusement park-like facility that would create “a secure area where only admitted guests circulate”.
The Confederated Tribes Of The Grand Ronde Community currently has about 2,300 enrolled members while current state law restricts tribes to operating one casino located on tribal lands.
“They see an opportunity to use their skill set in the entertainment arena in an attractive and beneficial way,” Bill Peterson, City Manager for Wood Village, told The Outlook. “The tribe is a government itself and it wants to diversify its investments to benefit its constituents.”
However, The Outlook reported that speculation the tribe will attempt to open a casino on the site at some point in the future lingers, not least because the new venture is to be located a full mile away from the nearest major roadway, Interstate 84.
“It’s not a great site for a hotel on its own,” Lee Leighton from architectural design firm Mackenzie, told The Outlook. “None of these [amusement venues] would have the gravity to attract people by themselves.”
Leighton, who was hired by the Confederated Tribes Of The Grand Ronde Community, explained that the planned complex is to be set back from nearby streets, which isn’t typical for large hotel and tourist destinations. The land use planner proclaimed that hoteliers generally prefer that their lodgings be visible from major roadways, ideally an interstate or freeway.
“I find it concerning that the word “casino” is almost avoided,” Tip Hanzlik, owner of the nearby Diamond Darcys lottery outlet, told The Outlook. “It’s like, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.”