Board of Trustees approves amendment to compact with State of Oregon

MISSION – The Board of Trustees (BOT) for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) approved an amendment to the Tribal-State Compact for the Regulation of Class III Gaming in Resolution 20-048 on May 18, 2020.

The amendment, for the year 2020 only, allows the Tribes to waive its obligation to fund the Wildhorse Foundation, according to a CTUIR press release.

Under the current Compact, which was approved by the CTUIR, the State of Oregon and the Secretary of Interior in 2008, the CTUIR committed to allocating a percentage of its net gaming revenue to the Wildhorse Foundation for distribution to local government and charitable entities within four Oregon counties (Umatilla, Union, Morrow and Wallowa), the CTUIR ceded territory in Washington (Tri-Cities and Walla Walla) and to Native American organizations. To date, the Wildhorse Foundation has issued grants totaling more than $13 million to regional organizations.

Due to the closure of the Wildhorse Resort and Casino March 2-4 and since March 18th, Wildhorse revenues are expected to be significantly lower in 2020. Therefore, under the proposed Compact amendment, the BOT directed that the Wildhorse Foundation contributions be paid into the Tribal Contingency Fund if funds are available for such payments.

“The Wildhorse Foundation is important to so many grant recipients throughout southeast Washington and northeastern Oregon,” said BOT Chair Kat Brigham. “We are anxious to get through this financial downturn so we can get the Wildhorse Foundation fully functional again in addition to our Tribal government and our casino.”

The Tribes rely on Wildhorse revenues to support Tribal government programs and services to the residents of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and these revenues will be substantially reduced as a result of the Wildhorse closure. A temporary waiver of the Tribes’ obligation to contribute to the community benefit fund for the year of 2020 would allow the Tribes to use those funds to offset the reduction of revenue and support Tribal government programs and services.

The Tribal Gaming Commission adopted a Resolution recommending Board of Trustees approval of Compact Amendment II. The amendment will be sent to Salem for approval by Governor Kate Brown and then to the Secretary of Interior for approval as required by Federal law. The Compact amendment will be implemented immediately pursuant to a Letter Agreement executed by legal counsel to the CTUIR and the State.