Oregon Ballot Measure 35 (2008)

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Oregon Ballot Measure 35 (2008) or The Oregon Revenue Enhancement And Protection Act of 2008 was an initiated state statute that would have allowed a privately owned casino near Portland, Oregon. The casino would have had a 15 year renewable license. The measure did not make the November 4, 2008 ballot.

This measure went hand-in-hand with Oregon Ballot Measure 36, which would have amended the constitution to allow this casino in Oregon. The establishment of casinos was prohibited in the state under the constitution. Measure 35 could only be valid if Measure 36 passes. The constitutional amendment would only have allowed the building of this particular casino, and would not permit operation of other casinos within the state.[1]

No public funds would have been used to build, operate, or regulate the casino, except for initial funds to set up a gaming commission that were subject to repayment by the casino. 25% of casino's gross revenues would have been allocated to costs of regulation and other specified public purposes. The legality of Tribal casinos was in no way affected by this measure.[2]


The proponents decided not to pursue signature gathering on this measure.

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 promoters’ statement did not indicate whether they would pursue another ballot measure in 2010, the next statewide election cycle.[3]

Official Ballot Title:

Measure 35: Established Privately-Owned Casino Near Portland; Created Gaming Commission Oversight; Allocated Portion Of Casino Revenues[4]

Measure 36: Amended Constitution: Replaced Constitutional Prohibition On Casinos With Provision Requiring The Authorization Of One, Privately Owned Casino[5]


Matt Rossman and Bruce Studer


Mark Wiener, a political consultant who had ties with the Democratic political establishment in Oregon, joined the campaign and reportedly had a hand in making sure that 25% of revenue from the casino would have gone to state and local governments. 2/3 of that money would be going to schools, and 1/5 would be given to fund children's health care. The rest would have gone to nearby cities as well as to help fund gambling addiction treatment.[6]

The Oregonian published an article in December 2007 spotlighting the proponents, their friendship, and down-to-earth approach to the initiative process. The article also pointed out that the 25 percent cut that Studer and Rossman promise the state far exceeds what the state gets from the tribal casinos, which contributed smaller percentages to community funds.[7]


The measure faced heated opposition from tribal casinos, as well as restaurant and tavern owners who had video gambling machines from the state Lottery. There was also some opposition in East Multnomah County from local officials who worried about the impact of a huge gambling operation on their area.[6]

In The Oregonian's article in December 2007 about the proponents' friendship, and down-to-earth approach to the initiative process, it was also mentioned that 59 percent of video lottery gambling revenues flowed to state programs. So the state could have lost money if Studer and Rossman's casino took a large share of the lottery business.[7]


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See also