Wood Village Casino Proposal Dropped for 2008

Supporters of a proposal to establish a new casino in Wood Village have decided not to put the idea on the 2008 ballot over worries about similar casino proposals.

From the Portland Tribune:

Citing timing and events beyond their control, two Lake Oswego businessmen say they will not pursue signature gathering to place a Wood Village casino proposal before voters in the November election.

Investment adviser Bruce Studer and lawyer Matt Rossman announced Friday, May 2, that they will not take the next step – gathering more than 100,000 signatures to put a ballot measure before state voters – in their plan to establish an entertainment-gambling complex at the former Multnomah Kennel Club site next to Wood Village Town Center.

A ballot measure would let Oregon voters decide if the promoters – and their thus-far unnamed financial backers – could develop the state’s only privately owned casino facility. Native American tribes run commercial casinos at locations scattered through the state.

In a statement, Studer and Rossman said controversy surrounding two tribes’ efforts to establish new casinos in Oregon and Washington made the timing of the ballot measure less desirable.

The Warm Springs tribe wants to develop a casino at Cascade Locks, and the Cowlitz tribe hopes to establish a gaming center on land near Interstate 5 in La Center, Wash. The projects have met with opposition on legal, ethical and environmental grounds.

Supporters of the plan have not stated if they will take it up again in the future:

This is the third time the promoters have backed down from the signature-gathering process in pursuit of a casino ballot measure.

In 2006, Studer and Rossman ran out of time to pursue signatures in the wake of legal appeals. They started early for the next round of state initiatives this November, securing clearance to commence signature gathering on four initiatives in March 2007. But they didn’t take those initiatives to the streets, instead starting anew with three reworded initiative measures. Legal appeals surrounding those three measures were exhausted in February, but the promoters again didn’t pursue petitioners.

The backers needed 110,358 valid petition signatures to put the constitutional amendment on Oregon’s November ballot, as well as 82,769 signatures for a companion measure that would change state law to, among other things, dedicate 25 percent of the casino’s proceeds to education and children’s health care.

The promoters’ statement did not indicate whether they would pursue another ballot measure in 2010, the next statewide election cycle. Rossman returned a phone message from The Outlook last week, but an interview was not secured by press time.

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