Casino backers refile measures for 2008

Fairview mayor says pair's lack of communication 'disappointing'

WOOD VILLAGE - The Lake Oswego duo behind a proposed Wood Village casino have filed two sets of proposed initiatives for the November 2008 election.

Matthew Rossman and Bruce Studer hoped to bring the issue before voters in 2006 but withdrew their measures after deciding they did not have enough time to collect the necessary signatures to get the initiatives on the ballot.

'I think the difficulty that we had with the '06 campaign … will be significantly improved, because we re-filed the exact same measures that were approved through the Supreme Court,' Studer said.

The proposed measures, which are known as Parts 1 and 2 of the Oregon Revenue Enhancement and Protection Act of 2008, consist of two pairs of statutory and constitutional measures.

The two statutory measures are identical, and if approved, will authorize the formation of a single commercial, taxable resort casino.

Although they differ in the way the profits are divided, the two versions of the proposed statutory measures would repeal Oregon's ban on non-tribal casinos and allow project proponents to build a casino and entertainment center at the site of the former Multnomah Greyhound Park.

Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby said he is disappointed that the proponents of the Wood Village facility did not communicate more with the nearby communities before filing for the 2008 election.

'I had hoped to engage them in some conversation regarding the division of profits … to get the best deal for our city,' Weatherby said.

Although he would like to negotiate some additional impact fees for the city if the casino is approved, Weatherby would rather that the casino not be built in the area.

'In this case, I think the best possible scenario is no casino at all,' Weatherby said.

Studer disagrees.

'This opportunity is so enormous for Oregon,' Studer said.

If voters approve the measures, gaming operations could begin Aug. 1, 2009.

Although casino proponents would have liked to see the issue on the ballot in 2006, Studer believes pushing back the vote will allow voters learn more about the opportunities and risks involved in operating a casino, and help them make informed decisions.

'This will allow us to have a more thorough and thoughtful conversation with the citizens and the communities and everyone involved,' Studer said.

Studer and Rossman hope to reveal the names of the casino's ownership group by the end of the year.