Ex-governors oppose Oregon casino ballot measures

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012
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Voters shouldn't look toward the casino's profits as the solution to struggling government budgets, Kulongoski said.

"This isn't going to solve Oregon's financial problems," Kulongoski said.

Measure 82 would change the state constitution to allow gambling in Oregon, with some restrictions, if each casino is approved in a statewide vote and in the community where it would be located. Measure 83 would specifically authorize the casino in Wood Village with up to 3,500 slot machines and 150 tables, and require that 25 percent of revenue go to the state lottery fund.

Clairvest Group Inc., a private equity firm based in Toronto, is the primary investor in the casino, working with Great Canadian Gaming Inc., which runs more than a dozen casinos and race tracks in British Columbia and Washington state, and two Lake Oswego businessmen who have been trying since 2005 to get voter approval for a privately owned casino.

The developers are advertising their project as a family-friendly destination called "The Grange," which they say would include a casino, hotel, theater and water slide on the site of the abandoned Multnomah Kennel Club in Wood Village, a town of less than 4,000 people on the eastern edge of metropolitan Portland, about 15 miles from downtown.

They say the casino would be 130,000 square feet — about the size of an average Target store — with 2,200 slot machines and 100 table games. Their plans call for a 125-room hotel, water park, bowling alley, concert hall and a public space for farmers markets and other gatherings.

The proponents say they'll build the project as advertised, although there's no requirement that they do so.