Tribe Designed a Highly Environmentally Conscious Project

From carbon neutral construction to LEED certification and environmental stewardship, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are taking unprecedented strides to ensure that their proposed Bridge of the Gods Columbia River Resort Casino is constructed and operated using best-in-class environmental practices.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs' 1992 Declaration of Sovereignty defines the Tribe's historic commitment to sustainability and to preserve the Tribe's culture, provide for the well-being of its people today and for the many centuries that lie ahead, live in balance with the land and never use more of the precious natural resources than can be sustained forever.

To that end, the Tribe has designed a highly environmentally conscious project that is designed to meet the needs of current and future generations. The following elements of the project, outlined in greater detail below, represent the Tribe's cornerstone commitments to best practices with regard to environmental stewardship:

  1. Carbon neutral construction: planting 167,000 trees
  2. LEED and Green Globes certification
  3. New building design elements: green roof, photo voltaics, etc.
  4. Sustainability manager
  5. Transportation program
  6. Environmental improvements agreed to in Compact with State of Oregon

1. Carbon Neutral Construction The Tribe will be carbon neutral in the construction of the facility:

-- Carbon Neutral: Construction of the facility will be "carbon neutral, meaning that construction-related activity will not emit any more carbon than will be offset through the planting of 167,000 trees.

2. LEED and Green Globes Certification The Tribe has committed to designing a building that can qualify for LEED and Green Globes certification, which certify sustainable building practices. Some of the LEED/Green Globe elements include:

  • Wood material used in construction will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as coming from sustainable, diverse forests and harvested using environmentally responsible methods.
  • The Tribe plans to use 10% recycled materials in building the facility, including all of the steel. Gravel and fill that is removed from the site will be recycled and used for the I-84 interchange improvements.
  • The Tribe has a goal of 21% improvement in energy efficiency as compared to basic building code standards.
  • The Tribe plans to recycle 50% of the construction waste generated in building the facility.
  • Landscaping will feature native and drought-resistant plants to rehabilitate the industrial site and reduce water requirements.
  • Vegetation filters and state-of-the-art filtration systems using natural compost materials will cleanse storm water drainage before delivery to groundwater, nearby Herman Creek and the Columbia River, including a "green roof" consisting of mosses and other vegetation actually planted on a portion of the facility roof.
  • The facility will use on-site rainwater to provide drip irrigation, reducing runoff as well as the municipal water requirements of the facility.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System(TM) is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Green Globes is a newer certification program that is gaining some momentum in the US and Canada.

3. New Building Design Elements

The Tribe is committed to including the following elements into the building design to further the sustainability of the project:

  • Solar Panels on the facility and in parking areas to enhance reliance on renewable energy.
  • A substantial increase in green roofs on the facility to assist in stormwater treatment.
  • Installation of an information kiosk in the facility to inform visitors about green building techniques, features and benefits.

4. Sustainability Manager The Tribe will employ a sustainability manager who will manage the carbon reduction programs, conservation programs and facility operations.

5. Transportation Program

The Tribe has hired Nelson\Nygaard, a technical consulting firm well regarded for developing fixed route transportation solutions, to analyze and propose a potential program for alternative transportation to the facility. Nelson\Nygaard has completed a technical report that focuses on employee and customer commuting options:

  • Employee: The project will implement an aggressive vanpool program with associated financial incentive including parking cash-out and heavily subsidized vanpool fare to and from Gresham, Portland, Vancouver, Hood River and Warm Springs.
  • Customer: The project has committed to implementing a general bus and charter system for customers within 8 months of opening the casino. Primary pick up and drop off points would be in the Portland metro area.
  • Potential Transportation Partnerships: The Tribe has committed to pursuing potential partnerships with local transportation providers and potential coordination activities for long-term opportunities for regional transportation solutions.
  • Transportation Manager: The Tribe will employ a transportation manager responsible for managing both customer and employee transit to the facility, to facilitate ridership and to pursue long-term transit options for the facility.

6. Environmental Improvements As outlined in the Tribal-State Compact signed with the people of Oregon, the Tribe will dedicate time, resources and funds to the preservation and protection of Oregon's natural resources.

  • Perpetual preservation of 215 Acres of Sensitive Lands near Hood River Forever, including 40 acres of "trust land" and 175 acres of "fee land" near Hood River.
  • Building on a vacant, blighted industrial site, located in an industrial park, that will not displace natural vegetation or wildlife habitat.
  • Creation of the Warm Springs Tribes Oregon Benefit Fund, which will contribute up to 17 percent of its "net win" from gaming to a state foundation in the first seven years of operation and an even greater percentage in subsequent years. Between five and ten percent of the revenues received by the foundation must be "expended for the purposes of preserving, protecting or enhancing natural and cultural resources within the Gorge Scenic Area." Based upon these figures, economic forecasts indicate that in the first eleven years of the project, between $15 million and $30 million will be earmarked by the foundation for "enhancing natural and cultural resources" in the Gorge. An advisory committee of "persons with demonstrated interest or experience in Columbia Gorge issues" will assist the foundation board in targeting funds at environmental projects.
  • Creation of a Community Benefit Fund, with more than $55.4 million available for local community conservation efforts. The Tribe has committed to contributing six percent of the net income of the gaming complex to a community benefit fund, managed by a nine-member Board of Trustees. Economic forecasts indicate that in the first eleven years of the project, $56.6 million will be contributed to the community benefit fund. Of that, $55.4 million would be available for the Fund's discretionary purposes, including environmental projects in the Gorge.
  • Development of a facility that blends with the natural surroundings of the Gorge. Many of the project's elements are consistent with the stringent standards of the Columbia River Gorge Commission and U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Building in the Scenic Area: Scenic Resources Implementation Handbook" guidelines for building in the Gorge. Because the facility is located in the Cascade Locks urban area, the Tribe is not required to adhere to the Gorge Commission's standards. However, whenever possible, the Tribe has designed the facility to comport with best environmental practices in the Gorge.
  • Connect with the Tribe's cultural heritage in the Gorge. The Wasco Indians, one of the three tribes that make up the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, were from time immemorial a fishing people who resided in villages along the Columbia River. Prior to the construction of Bonneville Dam in 1937, the Cascade Locks area was an important fishery for the Wasco. An important dip-net fishery was located just upstream from the modern Bridge of the Gods, very near the resort and casino site. In order to honor its heritage and history in the Cascade Locks area, the Tribe is including critical cultural components in the design of its resort and casino facility. These cultural components will connect visitors to the facility with the Tribe's ancient presence in the Gorge.

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

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