Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville is putting all but about 100 of its 637 workers on indefinite furlough in response to the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting closure of the casino and its hotel.
The casino and hotel, which is owned by the Cow Creek Tribe of Umpqua Band of Indians, will keep 108 employees working, according to Cow Creek spokeswoman Susan Ferris. Employees at Seven Feathers RV Resort, which is adjacent to the casino, and Seven Feathers Truck & Travel, which is across Interstate 5, should not be affected by the casino resort’s closure, Ferris said.
Details about other employees of tribal entities, such as the tribal government office and the Umpqua Indian Development Corp. are still being determined, she said.
“What happens is the income will be reduced significantly,” Ferris said. “The programs that survive will be the ones that most benefit tribal members.”
Ferris also said tribal leaders hope to bring the furloughed employees back to work as soon as possible.
“You just don’t let a cadre of people like that go,” she said. “When there’s work they can do, they will be back at work.”
The casino and the 300-room hotel were closed on March 17. Ferris said she believes this is the first time Seven Feathers has closed.
The tribe has been paying full salary and benefits to all the casino and hotel employees since the closure. That decision, which has cost the tribe hundreds of thousands of dollars, was necessary, Ferris said.
“People can’t be faulted for not planning for this,” she said. “None of us could’ve planned for this.”
Seven Feathers started as a bingo hall in 1992 and gradually grew over the decades. It now features a lavish casino with about 1,000 gaming machines and two dozen gaming tables, which draw about 1,300 people a day, Ferris said. The casino is also home to many events, including conferences, concerts and shows.
The resort casino has canceled several events, including a Cow Creek cultural conference, a professional wrestling event, a Women’s Expo, a Rick Springfield concert and a Larry the Cable Guy show.