Local News That Matters

Siletz Tribe plans to start building Salem casino in 2024

November 24, 2021 at 3:57pm

Oregon seeking feedback on rising prescription drug costs

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services wants people to share their stories of rising prescription drug prices ahead of a December hearing.

The department has a survey for consumers to ask questions and share their experiences.

“Drug prices play a major role in health care decisions of Oregonians and the cost of prescription drugs have steadily increased in the past 10 years. The department wants to know what questions you have about the increase in prescription drugs and how has it affected you and your family,” a news release about the survey said.

The department’s hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Dec. 8. 

The effort is part of the state's drug pricing transparency program, which holds an annual hearing on the cost of prescription medication.

Tune in to the hearing via Zoom http://dcbspage.org/RXDRUGPRICEHEARING2021. There will be opportunities to provide public testimony during the hearing. 

-Saphara Harrell

November 24, 2021 at 12:05pm

Visits resume for vaccinated patients at Oregon State Hospital's Salem campus

The Oregon State Hospital on Friday, May 28, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Patients at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem who are vaccinated against Covid can once again visit with family and friends in-person, the hospital announced Wednesday.

Visitors have been banned from the Salem campus since the March 2020 as part of the hospital's infection control guidelines to limit the spread of Covid. That's meant many of the 500 people living at the hospital have had limited contact with friends and family for over a year and a half, with video visits and phone calls.

The decision came after the share of positive Covid tests in Marion County fell below 8% weekly, the hospital said in a news release. The hospital's smaller Junction City campus has been allowing visitors since early October, when Lane County hit that target.

Not all patients will be able to receive visitors, the release said. Patients unvaccinated against Covid and those being monitored because they have symptoms of illness won't be eligible. Patients newly admitted to the hospital are quarantined for two weeks and won't be able to receive visitors during that time.

"In order to minimize infection risk, the hospital has created new guidelines for visitation, including requiring advance scheduling, limiting visitors to two per patient, requiring patients and visitors to wear masks, spacing chairs apart to allow physical distancing and not allowing consumption of food or beverages during the visit. In addition, all visitors must complete a health screening before entering the hospital. Those who refuse or fail the health screening will be asked to reschedule their visit," the hospital said in a Wednesday news release.

-Rachel Alexander

November 24, 2021 at 11:20am

Siletz tribe says proposed north Salem casino project will generate 2,300 construction jobs

The entrance to an RV park next to the proposed site for a casino being pursued by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon says their proposed casino project in north Salem will generate 2,300 construction jobs and $141 million in wages during construction, according to a recently released factsheet.

But the project, conceived years ago, is still awaiting federal approval and faces opposition from the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

The facility would include 2,000 gaming devices and 45 table games; a four-star hotel with 500 rooms, a pool and a spa; a 150-seat nightclub and a 100-seat sports bar, according to a project factsheet

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is reviewing the Siletz Tribe’s application, which was submitted in the summer of 2020.

If approved by the Secretary of Interior, Gov. Kate Brown will have a year to approve or reject the project, a factsheet said.

Pending those approvals, the tribal leaders said they plan to start building the facility between 2024 and 2025. The casino would generate $185.4 million in gross revenue and bring 1,500 full-time jobs in its first year of operation, a news release from the Siletz Tribe said. 

The casino would be built on tribe-owned property off Interstate 5 exit 258 to Portland Road. 

Over two years of construction, the project would bring in $492 million in economic impact and $54 million in indirect purchases, according to the factsheet. 

The tribes will share 25% of their net gaming earnings with state and local government, and split the rest among themselves — 25% going to the Siletz Tribe and 50% to the state’s eight other tribes. 

 -Ardeshir Tabrizian