Three groups joined in an unlikely coalition to oppose the tribal casino in Cascade Locks: the Oregon Restaurant Association, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and the Oregon Family Council. And boy, did they have different reasons. In a letter to Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, they argured that "it would lead to social and moral decay"; that by cutting into local lottery revenues it would damage schools; and in the most plausible complaint, that it would increase traffic and pollution in the Gorge. (It won't take much thinking for wise readers to determine which groups are worried about which ills.)
On the other side is the Governor, who managed to extract an agreement from the Warm Springs tribes that would funnel $200 million a year back into state coffers:
In exchange for getting a casino in Cascade Locks, the Warm Springs tribes agreed to turn over as much as 17 percent of their gross gambling profits to state programs, mostly to provide tuition aid to college students.
The tribes, which approved the plan Monday, also agreed to give the state 175 acres of environmentally sensitive land near Hood River, allow casino workers to unionize and build a $20 million freeway interchange for casino access.
In addition, tribal leaders said they would establish a local charitable fund similar to those established by other casino tribes in Oregon. The tribes would turn over 6 percent of their net gambling profits to this fund for use in the Cascade Locks area.
It's a deal that cuts across the political divide in strange ways. Which camp do you side with?