Cascade Locks Casino:
A Projection of Future Employment
and School-Aged Children
Applied Demographic Methods
May 25, 2005
This report was prepared by four graduate students enrolled in a course dealing
with applied demographic methods. The report was supervised by the course
instructor, Barry Edmonston, who is director of the Population Research Center.
He has reviewed the report.
A proposed casino in Cascade Locks, Oregon will have substantial effects on the
population of Hood River County. This report estimates the number of children
who will enter into the Hood River School District in the future as a result of
additional employment in the county.
o Using a methodology based on expected direct employment effects,
employees who move to the county for casino employment are estimated
to range between 73 and 161 persons.
o These jobs will produce an estimated 76 to 168 new children entering into
Hood River County’s public school system.
This report limits attention to the direct employment effects of the casino. This
report does not make estimates of new employment created by businesses that sell
or provide services to the casino, or of additional employment generated by new
spending by casino employees. These anticipated indirect and induced
employment effects will likely lead to additional children enrolled in Hood River
County School District.
Casino gaming has influenced the economy and population growth throughout Oregon. Plans for
a casino in Cascade Locks, Oregon has lead to an interest in the school enrollment effects for
Hood River County School District. How many new children will attend public schools when
new employees move into the county? This paper addresses the impact a new casino will have
on the Hood River School District in terms of new student enrollment. The report presents a
methodology for estimating the potential impacts to school enrollment from the casino. The
projected numbers reported in this paper provide a general range of the potential numbers of
children entering into the school district due to future casino employment.
Gaming Industry in Oregon
The Contributions of Indian Gaming to Oregon’s Economy: An Economic Impact and Benefit
Analysis for the Oregon Gaming Alliance, March 2005, estimates that in 2003 Oregon tribal
casinos accounted for 35 percent of all the gaming conducted inside the state of Oregon. Other
estimates in this report show that 5,328 jobs and $192.4 million in wages were generated through
gaming business by Oregon tribes in 2003. In addition, 5,640 jobs and $156.5 million in income
were generated for workers in other sectors of Oregon’s economy as a result to the gaming
industry. States and local government collected over $42.6 million in taxes and other revenues
due to tribal casinos.
Other improvements include a higher high school and college education attainment by Native
Indians after the introduction of casinos. One in five Native American adults now has a college
degree. Furthermore, unemployment for Native Americans fell by 2.6 percent from 1990 to
2000, which could be attributed to jobs created in native casinos during that decade. The number
of Native American households earning at least $50,000 a year increased nearly four-fold
primarily due to gaming. By December 2004, Oregon had nine casinos owned and operated by
the Oregon Gaming Alliance, a coalition of nine Indian tribes (Table 1).
Chinook Winds Lincoln City
Indian Head Warm Springs
Old Camp Burns
Seven Feathers Canyonville
Spirit Mountain Grand Ronde
The Mill North Bend
Three Rivers Florence
The first Indian gaming facility in Oregon, the Cow Creek Bingo Hall in Canyonville, opened in
1992. The cumulative investment for the nine tribes beginning with the Bingo Hall in 1992
through the end of 2003 was approximately $245 million. The total gaming revenues recorded in
Oregon in 2003 and 2002 were $80 million, and $79 million, respectively. In addition, Oregon
casinos provided 10,968 part-time and full time jobs (Table 2). Casino economic output has both
direct and indirect effects. The 2005 ECONorthwest report indicates the following economic
impacts of gaming in 2003:
Oregon Casino Employment
Economic Activity Full and Part-time Jobs
Gaming and hospitality revenues 4,592
Tribal needs supported by casinos 739
Total direct impacts 5,328
Natural resources and construction 380
Wholesale and retail trade 1,460
Total indirect & induced impacts 5,640
Total impact of casinos on Oregon economy 10,968
Source: ECONorthwest 2005
Cascade Locks Casino Proposal
In April 2005, the State of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs reached an
agreement to build a casino. A major aspect of the agreement was for the casino to share 17
percent of the gross gaming revenue with the citizens of Oregon. The Oregon Benefit Fund will
receive monies from the tribe annually. Five percent of the funding will support environmental
purposes in the Columbia River gorge, another 5 percent will be used for economic development,
and the remaining 7 percent will be used for direct postsecondary student assistance in Oregon.
The tribal community benefit fund will receive annual income for general charitable purposes.
The tribes will work with the Oregon Department of Transportation on highway improvements
and on the development of a new interchange on I-84 leading to the complex at an estimated cost
of $20 million.
The Warm Springs Tribe owns land outside the City of Hood River that qualifies for Indian
gaming under federal law. Due to community opposition to building a casino in the scenic
Columbia Gorge area, the tribe proposed to build a gaming facility within the limits of the City
of Cascade Locks, an idea that was supported by the surrounding communities in Hood River
County. The facility will be the first tribal casino on nontribal land in Oregon. Its proximity to
Portland gives it an advantage over other casinos in the state. The tribe also agreed to transfer
four parcels of tribal land outside the City of Hood River to the State and agreed to restrict future
use of an additional parcel of land. The tribe will also address any concerns the State of Oregon
may have regarding the facility design to ensure it will be aesthetically compatible with the
environment of the gorge. Additional agreements reached with the tribe include a traffic
management plan, use of green building technology, and renewable energy.
The contract also created an opportunity for employees of an Indian gaming facility to be eligible
to voluntarily join a union by the “card check” method. Under this method, workers who want to
form a union sign union authorization cards saying they want to be represented. If a majority of
the workers want a union, then the employer must recognize the union as the workers official
bargaining agent. The tribe will adopt an ordinance to guarantee that adequate employment and
public accommodation standards are in place to protect employees and patrons of the casino. The
protection includes a guaranteed minimum wage, anti-discrimination, family medical leave,
Americans with Disabilities Act, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance
protections. The facility will still require federal approval before it is commissioned.
EFFECTS OF HOOD RIVER CASINO
The development of a major casino in Hood River would affect employment, population and
housing, and school enrollments.
In 2002, ECONorthwest produced an updated version of the 1998 Local Impact Analysis of the
Proposed Hood River Casino: A Report to the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian
Reservation. The key assumptions for this 2002 model were based on a “typical $100 million
casino without a hotel” (Casino Economic Impact Study, 2). The $100 million would come from
customer’s spending money on food, beverage, and entertainment. The location of the casino is a
major indicator of how much revenue it will generate. For example, according to the study, if the
casino is closer to I-84, then it would earn higher revenue, and if it were built farther away from
the interstate, it would earn less revenue.
The casino’s new employment will spur an increase in spending power to the local economy.
This means that the money earned by the casino employees will be spent on local purchases,
which will support job growth in multiple sectors (Table 3). There would be increased
employment in hotel and seasonal jobs, restaurants, retail, gas station attendants, private business
owners, plumbers, accountants, gardeners, cashiers, health care, real estate business, and others.
New Casino Employment
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Transportation, Communication, &
Wholesale and Retail Trade
Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate
Source: ECONorthwest 2002
Overall, the new employment over time would increase the county’s population by 3.4 percent,
or approximately 723 people (Casino Economic Impact Study, 8). This can occur from a mix of
“reduced outward migration and relocation of new families into Hood River County” (Casino
Economic Impact Study, 15).
The casino’s economic impact on Hood River County will generate employment in three ways.
First, it will create jobs directly for casino employees. Second, indirect job growth will be
created by the construction of the casino, maintenance and operations of the casino, and
secondary benefits to related, non-casino industries. Third, there will be induced jobs created by
employees in the first two categories spending their income on goods and services.
The largest of these employment figures are those employed by the casino directly. This is the
only employment growth considered in this report for purposes of estimating school enrollment
effects. While the jobs generated by the indirect and induced jobs will be significant, it is
difficult to suggest where employees for those jobs are likely to come from. In most cases,
current residents of the county will fill those jobs since most of the impacts are expected to be
felt by existing businesses.
School Enrollment Effects
In order to estimate the future impact on enrollment in the Hood River School District due to the
pending Warm Springs Indian Reservation casino sited in Hood River County, we made several
different assumptions. This section describes the rationale for the approach, as well as the
detailed calculations and data used.
This report addresses only the impact on school enrollment of people hired by the casino. It does
not consider the indirect and induced employment impacts that the casino may bring. This is
because the greatest employment impact, and therefore, the greatest impact on school enrollment
will come from people employed directly by the casino. Future school enrollment is estimated in
this report by the following method by:
1. Determining the number of people the casino is likely to hire that are Hood River County
2. Determining the relative occupations of those hires and their approximate age-structures
3. Estimating the percentage of employees who move to Hood River County to take casino
4. Estimating the number of annual births those families are likely to have; and,
5. Applying the above estimate to a future cohort of school-aged (kindergarten through 12th
An additional analysis by ECONorthwest (2002) approximated the county’s current capacity to
supply casino workers and accordingly, how many jobs would have to be filled by people
moving in to the county. To forecast the new impact of casino employment on the county,
ECONorthwest (2002) classified the casino’s workforce according to where those workers would
likely come from. They assumed that of the total Hood River County employees:
1. Some workers would switch from commuting out of the county for jobs to working at the
2. Some of the workers in the hotel and recreation industries would upgrade to casino jobs;
3. Some of the seasonal workers would take year-round employment at the casino;
4. A substantial portion of casino workers would come out of the pool of unemployed and
poor residents on public assistance gaining employment at the casino; and
5. The remainder would come from families moving into the county for casino jobs.
For this analysis, the percentage of those families moving to Hood River County for casino jobs
represents the most important group for future school enrollment impacts not currently accounted
for in current school enrollment projections.
Estimated School Enrollment Effects
As previously mentioned, ECONorthwest (2002) assumed that a typical Oregon Native
American casino would generate $100 million in revenues. A casino generating this much in
revenue was estimated to employ 1,201 people. Updated recent personal communications with
ECONorthwest staff estimates that 1,700 employees would be needed for the Cascade Locks
Casino, which includes employees for a hotel. These approximate 1,700 employees are stratified
by occupation using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on national occupation categories coded
under those employed in the gambling sector.
Table 4 lists all occupations and the relative percentage of people employed in that occupation in
the United States. For this analysis, average annual wage income by occupation is used to relate
the proportion of occupation to the age structure of someone earning approximately the same
amount in Oregon. The relationship is established by describing the relative age-structure of all
Oregon wage earners. Average annual wage income is used as a key to relate the gambling
industry occupation proportions with the age structure of Oregon.
Occupation and annual wage income of those employed in gambling (US)
Occupation Average Annual Wage Percentage
All Occupations $23,160
Food preparation and serving $18,120 21.23%
Building and grounds maintenance $18,500 5.77%
Production $20,010 0.33%
Sales $20,150 8.97%
Personal care and service $21,650 32.55%
Transportation and material moving $22,470 2.97%
Office and administrative support $23,690 12.18%
Protective service $23,860 6.98%
Healthcare practitioner and technical $24,720 0.13%
Installation, maintenance, and repair $28,490 3.04%
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media $31,910 0.44%
Construction and extraction $33,950 0.15%
Life, physical, and social science $38,800 0.04%
Business and financial operations $39,070 1.02%
Education, training, and library $40,600 0.16%
Computer and mathematical science $41,590 0.39%
Architecture and engineering $45,780 0.33%
Management $66,190 3.32%
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2003)
Using 2000 Oregon Census data, individual wage income was tabulated by age creating the link
to average annual wage income for gambling industry occupations. Using this linkage, the
proportion of the 1,700 Cascade Locks Casino jobs was sorted into occupations with their own
age-structure. Next, the breakdown of jobs by occupation and underlying age-structure was
applied to Hood River County age-specific fertility rates to estimate the number of births per
year per occupation and age-group.
Table 5 summarizes the age-specific fertility rates for the Oregon 2000 Census population.
Fertility is highest in the 20-29 age categories. Fertility declines substantially in the 30-34 age-
groups and drops off further after that.
Age-specific birth rates for Hood River County (2000)
Age Female Age-Specific Birth
Group Births Population Rates (per 1000)
10-14 0 798 0.00
15-19 34 694 48.99
20-24 109 600 181.67
25-29 99 532 186.09
30-34 66 660 100.00
35-39 43 814 52.83
40-44 9 851 10.58
45-49 1 741 1.35
Total 361 5690 581.50
Source: US Census Bureau
Age-specific fertility rates were calculated using 2000 birth data by age of mother from Hood
River County. This analysis uses the current age-specific birth rates to calculate the number of
yearly births resulting from each age group. The number of new births for the year is then
calculated as the sum of these births. The following formula calculates the numbers of births:
New births due = Sum (age-specific birth rate) * casino jobs within a
to an age group 1000 females respective age group
This calculation nets a total amount of births per year that can be attributed to females within
specific age-groups and sums them over the reproductive years of 15-54. This figure is then
multiplied by 13, which represent the total years of school-aged children between kindergarten
and 12th grade.
The model then estimates a range of jobs going to Hood River County residents that will be from
families moving into the county. Table 6 shows the estimates as low, intermediate, and high
percentages of total jobs going to new residents for each age-group. For the purpose of this
study, these estimates are assumed to be plus and minus 15 percent of the intermediate estimate.
The intermediate model assumes that 40 percent of the future casino employees will come from
the county, of which 19.5 percent of those employees would be new residents. This produces
the generation of high (55 percent of total Cascade Locks casino employees divided by 19.5
percent of those employees moving into Hood River County), intermediate (40 percent divided
by 19.5 percent), and low (25 percent divided by 19.5 percent) estimates for how many casino
jobs would go to new Hood River County residents. The range of all jobs produced for new
residents goes from a modest 73 to more than doubling at 161.
Number of Jobs per Age-Group: New County Residents
Group High Intermediate Low
15-19 1.9 1.4 0.9
20-24 22.0 16.0 10.0
25-29 26.9 19.6 12.2
30-34 23.6 17.2 10.7
35-39 22.6 16.4 10.3
40-44 23.2 16.9 10.5
45-49 22.8 16.6 10.4
50-54 17.6 12.8 8.0
Total 160.7 116.9 73.0
The intermediate rate will ultimately lead to 122 new students in the kindergarten through 12th
grade (K-12) school system (Table 7). The high-end model generates 168 new K-12 students,
and the low-end model estimates 76 new students will be enrolled. The resultant range of 76 to
168 presents a wide range of new students to be added to the school system over a 13-year span,
assuming steady employment and births for considerable time after the casino opens.
Jobs, Births, and K-12 Children by Estimate Method
Estimate Jobs Births/Year K-12 Children
Low 73.0 5.9 76.4
Intermediate 116.9 9.4 122.3
High 160.7 12.9 168.1
This model relies on national employment data for people employed in the gaming industry. This
approach is used to uncover the likely age-structure of people employed at the casino. Contrary
to applying a generalized assumption on the fertility of people employed at the casino, this
analysis attempts to recreate the “real world” by linking occupation to a corresponding age
structure. This is accomplished by linking average annual wage income of the differing
occupations at a casino with the relative proportion of people employed at the various age-
groups. This approach allows a rough approximation of the likely ages of people employed in
different tasks at the casino. Thus, we are able to make approximations of how many children
casino employees are likely to have in the future. However, there are several key assumptions
made in using this approach. The model assumes that:
1. All jobs to go families, or that every job will produce children.
This model assumes that every person employed by the casino will be a member of a
family with children. Although that is not necessarily the case, it provides a conservative
estimate for how casino employment might impact school enrollment.
2. Mortality is not a factor.
There are no adjustments made for childhood mortality and all children born are assumed
to mature and enroll in the school system.
3. The age structure of all the jobs remains constant over time.
This allows the current age-specific fertility rates to be used for all casino employees,
whether they begin employment at the time the casino opens or at a later date.
4. Employees do not have children at the time they begin employment.
The analysis assumes that families will not be bringing children into the county with
them or that they are not of school age. Instead, the model assumes a steady rate of births
per year and how those births will impact the school system in the K-12 age groups in the
There are several limitations that should be discussed in view of the assumptions made in the
model. A major consideration in interpreting the results is to understand the relative percentages
of people who will live in Hood River County and work in the casino. Since casinos are twenty-
four hour establishments, there are strong incentives for employees to live near their place of
work. However, there are large labor pools of workers in the Portland area – most notably
Troutdale and Gresham. Additionally, workers may come from Stevenson in Clark County. The
estimates presented in this report could represent low estimates of future school enrollment if
future housing built in Cascade locks is affordable and attractive to casino employees. Under this
scenario, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that larger percentages of employees would
move into the county and choose to live close to their jobs.
The assumption that all jobs will go to families seems to bias the model in a conservative fashion
since it is unlikely that all employees will be members of families. While child mortality is low,
it is still a factor and could also affect school enrollment projections. However, since it is not
considered in the model, the estimate is biased toward a more liberal projection.
Since the model tries to replicate a steady rate of births at some future point in time from the
casino’s opening, it assumes that there is heterogeneity in the occupation structure of
employment, which in turn captures some variation in the background age-structures and its
impact on fertility. However, these estimates could be flawed if the occupation splits and age-
structure linkages based on wages does not track with national occupation gambling industry
data or if Cascade Locks casino workers earn more or less than their national counterparts. The
model does not allow the age-structure of those jobs to deviate. Actual changes or employment
not consistent with the national gaming occupation and wage data could produce substantial
deviations in the fertility rates and births per year of casino workers. It is difficult to speculate on
the direction of these impacts, but changes in either direction would seem likely. The resultant
enrollment projections will need to be adjusted to reflect the actual population of persons living
in the county and working for the casino.
While the analysis concerns itself with people moving into the county and their impact on
schools, the model does not consider immediate impacts of families moving into the county that
bring school-aged children. In this respect, the model could underestimate the immediate impact
on school enrollment if families moving into the county bring large numbers of children with
them. Instead, the model attempts to estimate the future births of those expected to be hired. In
this respect, there is an implicit lag time from when people are hired, have their children and
when those children will mature to school age.
Having stated these assumptions, this model does provide an adequate estimate for the number of
children that will enter the Hood River School District in the near future. These estimates can be
used by the school district to do long-term planning for new students as a direct result of a new
casino. It does not take into account new children added to the system by current residents of
Hood River County, or by new residents who are not employed by the casino. These numbers do,
however, provide Hood River School District with an estimate of the total impact the Cascade
Locks casino will have in the future.
ECONorthwest (2005). Contributions of Indian Gaming to Oregon’s Economy: An Economic
Impact and Benefit Analysis for the Oregon Gaming Alliance.
ECONorthwest (2002). Hood River County Casino Economic Impact Study.
Oregon Vital Statistics Report (2000). Oregon Department of Human Services. Retrieved April
2005 from http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/chs/data/arpt/00v1/2-09.pdf.
U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved April, 2005 from
U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 2005 from http://www.census.gov.