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Columbia River Gorge Casino Project Delayed

A proposed casino in the Columbia River Gorge may have run into setback with the federal government.

The letter, dated June 23, was sent to the Northwest regional office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which marked it as received July 11. A copy was posted on the Web site of the Friends of the Columbia Gorge, which opposes plans to build a casino that would be the first in Oregon located off reservation land.

The letter says revisions are needed for a "scoping report", which the Interior Department defines on one of its Web sites as a process of public involvement to identify problems and issues and to seek advice from government agencies and technical experts.

James Cason, associate deputy secretary of the Interior Department, said the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs proposal "requires further refinement and that at least one additional alternative should be identified for analysis in the environment impact statement."

Govwenor Ted Kulongoski supports the gorge casino, which has been the target of a political battle between tribes and various opponents. Efforts to reach a spokesman for Kulongoski Thursday evening were not successful.

A call Thursday evening to Maria Wiseman, listed as a Division of Indian Affairs contact on the letter, was answered by a recorded message saying she would not return to her office in Washington, D.C., until Monday.

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