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Hayden Island residents begin drive against 'Lottery Row'

Hayden Island residents have formed a new organization and launched a petition drive to stem the proliferation of bars and restaurants on the island that make most of their money from hosting state video lottery terminals.

The new Friends of Hayden Island is highlighting the increase of crime in and around “Lottery Row,” a strip retail center across the street from the Jantzen Beach Super Center. The center has morphed into a mini-casino, with a dozen retailers that all cater to gamblers playing video lottery, mostly from Washington state.

Friends of Hayden Island began collecting petition signatures on Saturday, Sept. 15, and pledged to go door to door on the island to publicize their campaign, which they’re calling Stop Lottery Row.

In May, Larry Niswender, director of the Oregon State Lottery, withdrew a proposed regulation that would limit the concentration of video lottery retailers in one locale. He promised in July to write another regulation that might pass muster with members of the Oregon State Lottery Commission.

Lottery Row could be condemned if final approval and funding is granted to replace the main bridge connecting North Portland to Vancouver, known as the Columbia River Crossing.

Hayden Island residents are concerned that the retailers on Lottery Row may be jockeying to find alternative sites once the strip retail center is knocked down to make way for the new bridge. As reported in the Portland Tribune in July, the largest lottery retailer in Oregon is buying the former Zupan’s grocery store, on the other side of the Interstate 5 freeway from Lottery Row. Oregon Restaurant Services, which owns or manages the Dotty’s and five other Lottery Row businesses, is buying the grocery for offices, according to company president Dan Fischer.

However, residents fear the building, which is zoned for retail uses, could easily be converted into lucrative lottery-oriented bars and restaurants when the new bridge is built.

For more information: http://www.StopLotteryRow.com.