If approved, Measure 75 would authorize Oregon's first privately-owned and tax-paying casino - on the site of the old Multnomah Greyhound Park in east Multnomah County.
In addition to property, income, and hotel taxes, the casino would pay a tax of 25% on all gambling revenue (not profits) that, supporters estimate, would generate some $150 million a year for schools and local governments statewide.
Sponsors of the measure had sought to also place on the ballot a constitutional amendment that would make it absolutely crystal-clear that the casino authorization, regulatory system, and tax structure was exempt from the constitional prohibition on casinos. The sponsors fell short of the required signatures for that measure.
However, Measure 75 proponents have now argued that the constitutional amendment is unnecessary - and they have a legal opinion from Greg Chaimov on that score. Chaimov, you see, spent years as the top lawyer for the legislature.
Here's Chaimov's argument:
At issue is Article XV, section 4(12) of the Oregon Constitution that was added when the voters authorized the Oregon Lottery and Tribal Casinos: “The Legislative Assembly has no power to authorize, and shall prohibit, casinos from operation in the State of Oregon.”
Greg Chaimov, attorney at Davis, Wright, Tremaine and former chief counsel to the Oregon Legislature, said, “the prohibition authorizing casinos and the requirement to ban casinos applies to the Legislative Assembly, not to the people.” Chaimov continues, “Ballot Measure 75 will become law if the people vote in favor on November 2.”
Of course, for the project to move forward, they'll need to win on Measure 75 -- and on a companion local measure in Wood Village. (If the local folks don't support it, Measure 75 will be moot.)
On Thursday, they'll kick off the statewide "Good for Oregon" campaign in Wood Village by releasing artist's renderings of what the casino complex will look like.
“Voters deserve to know this entertainment complex is much more than just a casino; it will be a fun destination for Oregonians and tourists alike,” said [campaign strategist Roger] Gray. “With the community’s input, seventy percent of the entertainment complex will provide non-gaming amenities including a movie theater complex, a large hall for concerts and conventions, a resort hotel, bowling lanes, and indoor and outdoor water parks.
Willamette Week has the rest of the sponsors' press release. There's more at the Portland Tribune, the Daily Journal of Commerce, the Oregonian, the Portland Business Journal, OPB, the Statesman-Journal, Jeff Lehman's blog, and David Steves's blog.