The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs unveiled the name and vision for Bridge of the Gods Columbia River Resort Casino, the tribes' proposed resort and casino on vacant industrial land in Cascade Locks, at a ceremony there on July 14.
The name and the identity are intended to recall the legend of Bridge of the Gods, a prehistoric land bridge spanning the Columbia River near the present day town of Cascade Locks. The Bridge of the Gods was once used by Native Americans to travel between what is now Washington and Oregon.
"Our people have cared for this land and the mighty river for thousands of years, and have held the Columbia River Gorge and Bridge of the Gods sacred since time immemorial," said Ron Suppah, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation. "In return the land and the river took care of us by providing food and shelter, and the name and vision for Bridge of the Gods Columbia River Resort Casino is a reflection of that relationship."
The new identity features an artistic interpretation of the Bridge of the Gods, which is reflected in the waters of the Columbia River and separated by the text, "Bridge of the Gods Columbia River Resort Casino."
At the center of the Bridge of the Gods facility design is a focus on the Columbia River, the dwellings that populated its banks and the people who inhabited the land.
The 500,000-square-foot facility is intended to reflect an ancient fishing village, appearing as a series of low-lying structures that vary in height, depth and composition.
Water plays a prominent role throughout the project, as a reminder of a millennia of tribal life along the Columbia River.
At the western entrance, a cascade of waterfalls known as Thundering Falls will tower above guests as they enter the building. The southern entry will be more representative of the region's dry season, with trickling water and more exposed rock surfaces.
An abundance of historical/cultural exhibits and displays throughout the project will educate guests about the legends, traditions, values and lifestyles of the people who inhabited the region prior to contact.
Colors and fabrics used throughout the facility will represent the natural palette of the Columbia River area, while a towering fireplace at the center of the hotel -- symbolic of the great lodges of the Pacific Northwest -- will serve as an interior beacon at the eastern end of the project.
Suppah noted on Tuesday that the ceremony was a success, with many people attending.
The tribes want to let people know that the project is still in the works. "I believe that the direction of the tribal referendum is to put a casino in the Gorge," he explained. "We want to inform our membership that we're still working to accomplish that."
The Confederated Tribes hope to have the draft environmental impact statement out in about two months -- later than originally expected since they now have to present an alternative to the Cascade Locks site, Suppah said.
Once the draft statement is released, public comment will be accepted for 45 days, followed by a final EIS.
"We're hoping to have some sort of action by the Department of Interior by late spring," he said.