MISSION - The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is pleased that Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has pledged to oppose privately-owned casinos.
Two Cascade Locks men are asking legislators to put a measure on the ballot that would ask voters to overturn Oregon's constitutional ban on casinos. If that fails, Bruce Studer and Matthew Rossman say they will launch an initiative petition and put the proposal on the ballot themselves next year.
The pair want to build a 1-million square foot, $490 million gaming and entertainment complex in the Portland area. The facility would have up to 3,500 video gaming terminals run by the state lottery, and the state would receive 25 percent of the gambling revenue.
"If that's the direction the Legislature is going to go, I think they have to look at another option," Kulongoski said. "If we're going to do that, then have the lottery run it and dedicate it all to education."
Kulongoski made the remarks on "Viewpoint," a show produced by KGW Television, in a Portland broadcast this weekend.
In addition to saying that it wouldn't make sense to accept that percentage when the lottery could run its own similar operation and retain more money, Kulongoski added that he is not proposing a state-run casino. He added that alternatives need to be considered rather than moving forward to allowing privately operated casinos.
Currently the lottery keeps 34 percent of the gambling income from its games after prizes and expenses are paid. The net income goes to schools, economic development projects and other programs.
"The governor's doing the right thing," CTUIR Deputy Executive Director Debra Croswell said. "When we first head about it, we were concerned about the competition, but when we looked closer we wondered why wouldn't the state just do it themselves and keep all the money. So our reaction was similar to the governor's."
Croswell said that while Studer and Rossman have the right to attempt to put an initiative on the ballot, she hoped that Kulongoski's public stance in opposition would help defeat any such measure.