In a statement released Thursday the department of Interior announced that all pending two-part determinations for tribal casinos would be delayed until a review is completed in the spring.
This means that that any approval for a proposed casino by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Cascade Locks would need to come from incoming Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has previously opposed the project.
Proponents for the project had hoped it would be approved by the Dept. of the Interior before Gov. Ted Kulongoski leaves office. Kitzhaber will be sworn in Monday.
"Last year, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar instructed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk to undertake a comprehensive review of Department of the Interior policy on the two-part determination exemption under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for taking land into trust for gaming purposes. As part of the review, Echo Hawk held six consultation meetings with Indian leaders around the country which finished on December 18, 2010," Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said via-email. "Mr. Echo Hawk's office is currently reviewing the comments received as part of that consultation and determining the next steps on the process for considering two-part determination applications for tribes. The Department will not make a final decision on any of the nine pending applications, including the Warm Spring Tribe's application, until Echo Hawk has completed this process later this spring."
See this weekend's Hood River News for more information on this breaking story.