Access To Win-River Casino Site Returned To Redding Rancheria Tribe

Written By Adam Hensley on September 16, 2022 - Last Updated on September 21, 2022
California's Redding Rancheria tribe gets access to casino land returned

The Redding Rancheria Native American tribe will finally have public access to its expanded casino site.

This comes months after a judge declared the city of Redding’s sale of land close to the Win-River Casino’s expansion site illegal.

The money goes back to Shasta Land Holdings LLC, the company which purchased the property. And the city of Redding has reclaimed the land.

“The Tribe looks forward to seeing that portion of Bechelli Lane fully restored to a public road for commercial access to our I-5 property,” Redding Rancheria CEP Tracy Edwards said in a statement to the Record Searchlight.

The Redding City Council voted 4-0 to authorize the reconveyance of the land, which is now back in the city’s hands. Additionally, the city reimbursed the company at its original purchase price.

In other words, the public can now access the site of the planned Northern California casino.

Councilman Mark Mezzano told KRCR:

“If you look at the history and what the Rancheria has done for the city of Redding, you have to respect that. They are partnered with our city. They work with us on a number of projects. If they can buy it local, they buy it local and that’s good for Redding.”

The lawsuit that started it all

Back in 2020, Redding Rancheria filed a lawsuit against the city of Redding and Shasta Land Holdings LLC. The lawsuit claimed the city improperly sold the land to the private group.

The sale would effectively kill the tribe’s plan to relocate the Win-River Resort and Casino.

At the time of the lawsuit, the Redding Rancheria believed the city attempted to kill the casino relocation project. The tribe said in a statement at the time:

“By selling this public property to a private entity with deep pockets, the City of Redding is trying to prevent commercial access to the Tribe’s I-5 property, which could prove detrimental to the viability of the Casino Relocation Project.”

That land sold by the city to Shasta Land Holdings LLC included a section of Bechelli Lane. The section included the entrance to the tribe’s property. Would the sale have gone through, commercial access to the tribal casino expansion would have been blocked.

Now, commercial access is officially back to the site. Redding Councilman Michael Dacquisto said on a Facebook page on Sept. 7:

“Still need paperwork completed and court sign-off. This is a first step to undo the shady land deal.”

Redding’s reclamation of the land comes months after a judge ruled sale illegal

In May, a judge ruled that Redding’s sale of the Win-River expansion site violated the law. The ruling finally put a bookend to Redding Rancheria’s two-year-old lawsuit over the sale.

The tribe aid said:

“While the Redding Rancheria is pleased with the ruling, the Redding Rancheria is also disappointed in the facts underlying this entire transaction and the lack of overall transparency. Moving forward, the Tribe and City must work together on a government-to-government basis for the good of the community.”

Control over access to Tribal land called “Strawberry Fields” was the concern at the center of the lawsuit.

“What resulted from these two resolutions is that Shasta now controls the Rancheria’s access to the Strawberry Fields through an easement that is limited to current zoning of agriculture prohibiting the Tribe’s use of Bechelli Lane for access to their planned development,” the court said in its ruling.

“Despite this significant impact on the Tribe’s use of their property and planned development, the City did not notify the Tribe until after the passage of the Resolutions and at the close of escrow.”

Photo by Cody Markhart/Shutterstock
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