Land formally recognized as reservation for Cowlitz Tribe

After more than a decade of legal battles, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe has received 156 acres of land to call its own.

The Daily News reported that the federal government on Friday declared the land as the tribe’s initial reservation.

Tribal Chairman Bill Iyall says the tribe expects to begin road and utility construction next year at the site near La Center, west of Interstate 5.

The tribe has plans for a $510 million casino as well as administration and community buildings. The 134,000-square-foot casino has received criticism from Clark County and the Confederate Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

A federal judge already has approved the Cowlitz Tribe’s casino plans, but an appeals process is expected to last several more months.