Part I of the Oregon non-tribal casino initiative falls short, Part II makes the cut
SALEM, Oregon: The proposed Wood Village casino project hit a roadblock yesterday when Secretary of State Kate Brown announced that only one of two related initiatives met the state's petition signature requirements and qualified for the 2010 statewide ballot. According to reports, supporters of both initiatives were pleased that at least one qualified for the ballot. However, in order for the Wood Village casino project to move forward, the project requires the approval of both initiatives.
Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part I, also known as Initiative 76, required a minimum of 110,358 valid signatures. According to the secretary of state's office only 104,629 signatures were verified. Part II, also known as Initiative 77, surpassed the 82,769 threshold by 96 signatures. Each initiative faced different requirements because Part I is an initiated constitutional amendment, while Part II is an initiated state statute.
Initiative 76 called for creating an exception to the state's casino ban and allows for one private casino in Wood Village, Oregon. Initiative 77, on the other hand, calls for creating a gaming tax of 25% of gross revenues for education, state police, and local governments across the state.
Since the project requires the approval of both initiatives in order to remove Initiative 77 from the ballot sponsors would have to go to court. According to reports, sponsors gave no indication if they planned to pursue that option. In response to the secretary of state's July 27 announcement, Matt Rossman, sponsor of the petition initiative, said that after speaking to the signature gathering firm, Democracy Resources, they believe the state office might have made a mistake and plan to pursue a lawsuit. Rossman said, "At this point, I think it’s safe to say that we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge the decision which will more than likely be filed tomorrow."