Oregon casino initiative supporters move ahead without constitutional amendment
SALEM, Oregon: Efforts to establish a casino in Wood Village, Oregon are moving ahead. In late July, the Oregon Secretary of State announced that Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part II, Measure 75 had collected sufficient valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. However, it's partner measure, failed the meet the state's requirements.
Part I, an initiated constitutional amendment, called for creating an exception to the state's casino ban and allowed for one private casino. Part II, an initiated state statute, calls for creating a gaming tax of 25% of gross revenues for education, state police, and local governments across the state. According to reports, both measures are required to pass in order for the project to proceed. In a last minute effort to certify Part I, supporters filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s petition signature-counting methods.
On August 23, 2010 initiative supporters dropped their lawsuit efforts. Supporters said a constitutional amendment wasn't necessary to build and operate a facility in Wood Village. Greg Chaimov, a Davis Wright Tremaine attorney working with the group, said the state's ban on non-tribal casinos "applies to the legislative assembly, not to the people. Ballot Measure 75 will become law if the people vote in favor on Nov. 2."
Others disagree and argue that the constitution clearly bans non-tribal casinos. Additionally, opponents argue that the initiative process does not circumvent the law because it is an exercise of the legislative process and is thus subject to the same restrictions as the legislature.
The state constitution states, "The Legislative Assembly has no power to authorize, and shall prohibit, casinos from operation in the state of Oregon." Tribal casinos are not subject to the prohibition.
- Statesman Journal, "Casino backers drop lawsuit," August 24, 2010
- Portland Business Journal, "Casino supporters drop ballot lawsuit," August 23, 2010
- Portland Tribune, "Casino backers press ahead without Constitutional measure," August 23, 2010
- The Register-Guard, "Casino campaign will go on," August 24, 2010