Morning Roundup: Cowlitz casino moves forward; Money flows into downtown Medford

Court rules Cowlitz casino can move forward, while Medford’s downtown is about to get a lot livelier. 

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The Cowlitz Tribe can move forward with its planned casino near La Center, Wash. The Tribe’s reservation status was approved Friday by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. The decision to affirm Cowlitz’s jurisdiction was made originally in 2014, dismissing a lawsuit from the city of Vancouver, Clark County, Citizens Against Reservation Shopping and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, which has the closest competing casino

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The Grand Ronde, meanwhile, will complete its exterior demolition of the Multnomah Greyhound Park tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon. Asbestos removal began in April, followed by the demolition of smaller exterior buildings. This demolition will remove the iconic structure from Wood Village’s line of sight. According to a press release, the cleanup from tomorrow’s demolition will be completed by mid-September. Read our interview with Tribal Chairman Reyn Leno here.

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Medford is getting cooler.  A $12 million renovation of the Medford shopping center will create an additional 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.  The redevelopment is being handled by Los Angeles-Based LBG Real Estate Companies. Construction will start later this month to be completed in late 2017. Medford Center stands at 420,000 square feet, with an estimated 3.2 million visitors annually.

According to a press release, LBG’s renovation plans include completely redesigning and remerchandising the central pedestrian promenade, which has been re-branded as “The Village at Medford Center,” creating “an exciting, entertainment-oriented environment for people to gather, shop, and dine,” said David Goldman, Managing Partner of LBG Real Estate Companies.

From the release: “Plans include a reconfiguration of tenants to allow for an additional 30,000+ square feet of leasable space within The Village, designed particularly for restaurants, wine-bars and breweries with most spaces offering significant outdoor seating options. A new façade and all new hardscape and signage, additional seating and a water/fire feature will also be added.”

The re-design also includes glass garage door-styled roll-up storefronts, which will create partially covered indoor/outdoor patio seating spaces in the central plaza of the center. “The redevelopment will transform The Village into a key focal point and gathering spot for customers located in the immediate surrounding markets of Medford and Ashland as well as throughout southern Oregon,” Goldman said.

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— Boardman’s Carty Generation Station is up and running, with two days to spare. Portland General Electric’s natural gas power plant had to be online by August 1 or return to regulators with a new rate case. The plant faced work quality issues, and opening the plant resolved just one of PGE’s issues in Boardman. The Portland Business Journal has more.

— Portland-based ScaleUp Partners is en route to Washington D.C. for an NABJ Learning Lab convention. The convention, and associated app, is part of ScaleUp’s larger focus on creating a more diverse technology ecosystem. Co-founder Mike Green will co-moderate a panel on media imagery and valuing black males while on the East Coast. Read our “From the Archive” cover story on Green here. 


— Whole Foods always sells products from local food producers, but Eugene’s first location may add 35 to 50 additional local vendors to the list. Companies including Nancy’s Yogurt and Toby’s Tofu, based in Lane County, are already on Whole Food shelves. The Register Guard reports farms, like Winter Green Farm, are eager for the opportunity. 

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— Salem’s Kettle Foods is expanding. The potato chip factory will add four large fryers and two centrifuges to remove surface oil from chips. These additions will boost capacity to 100,236 tons of raw potatoes annually. Kettle did not comment on new jobs or boosted production as a result. The Statesman Journal has more.


SolarCity Corp agreed today to a proposed acquisition deal by Tesla Motors. The deal, however, is $200 million less than originally proposed as SolarCity’s value dropped from $2.8 billion to $2.62 billion. The deal will form a combined entity to provide solar panels, battery storage systems and elective vehicles under one brand. Reuters has more.

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 — NPR reports soybean crops in Arkansas are suffering due to genetically-engineered seeds. Monsanto created herbicide-tolerant seeds, as well as seeds immune to the herbicide dicamba. But Monsanto also created a weedkiller for farmers to use on dicamba-resistant crops, without EPA approval. Now neighboring farms without Monsanto’s Xtend seed are facing the consequences.