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Casino bill on right track

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, who represents all four cities in East County, is starting a useful conversation with a bill she introduced Tuesday that would require a public vote before a proposed casino could be built in Wood Village.

Monnes Anderson's legislation, which has yet to be assigned to a committee, at least raises the question of whether Wood Village citizens support the private casino that's being pushed by two Lake Oswego residents.

Matthew Rossman and Bruce Studer have purchased the old Multnomah Kennel Club and are planning a 2008 initiative drive to amend the Oregon Constitution and Oregon Revised Statutes. The pair, who failed to get similar initiatives on the ballot in 2006, want to make it legal to have a single private casino in Oregon - and they would locate that one and only casino on the property they own.

While we continue to believe that Oregon voters will be highly skeptical of a scheme to allow two people and their unnamed backers to have the only private casino in the state, we also fear that local voices won't be heard in the 2008 election. That's why Monnes Anderson should be commended for bringing the matter of local input to more people's attention. If her bill were to pass, no non-tribal casino would be allowed unless the residents of the city where it is located agree.

If Monnes Anderson's bill gets a hearing - and we hope it does - we'd like to see it expanded to include popular votes in any city that's within 500 yards of a proposed casino. In the case of the shuttered Greyhound park, that would give Fairview and Gresham residents a voice too - since they surely would have to live with a casino's ill effects.