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Good news: Casino never had a chance

Without ever casting a ballot, Oregon voters once again have demonstrated their utter lack of interest in seeing Nevada-style casinos introduced in this state.

Last week, the promoters of two statewide ballot measures that would have allowed a casino in Wood Village threw in the towel on their idea even before ballots were sent out for the Nov. 6 election. In announcing they would spend no more money to advocate for Measures 82 and 83, the casino’s backers acknowledged what’s been obvious to most people since this idea was first broached in 2005: The overwhelming majority of voters have made up their mind about nontribal casinos, and they aren’t about to change their views.

This is especially true in the Portland area, where voters clobbered a 2010 measure that could have advanced the Wood Village casino. Even in tiny Wood Village, where the municipal government expected to receive millions of dollars in revenue from a casino development, a majority of voters opposed the idea in 2010.

The entrenched opposition remains this year, and that’s why recent polls showed — as they have for decades — that Oregonians are solidly against privately owned casinos. Given the futility of their cause, we hope the casino’s backers, including the Canadian company that was financing this campaign, will drop the matter for good. Oregon residents have more important concerns, and they recognize that adding yet another form of gambling will do absolutely nothing to improve the economy either locally or statewide.

By the same token, it’s time for Wood Village’s leadership to forget about casino pipe dreams and embrace more realistic strategies for improving the local economy and developing their city.

The Outlook’s endorsements

While the casino measures are effectively dead, voters can further bury them by making sure to mark their ballots against Measures 82 and 83. Wood Village voters also should reiterate their opposition to a casino by saying no to Measure 26-142, which is the required local referendum on the casino plan.

Opposing the casino will protect East County’s economy and quality of life, but voters also can take affirmative steps to move the community forward by electing top-quality candidates to office. Here’s a recap of The Outlook’s endorsements in the most visible local races:

Senate District 25: Voters should support Republican Scott Hansen, a local dentist, over incumbent Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson. Hansen has the potential to be a strong — and well-balanced — advocate for East County.

House District 49: Incumbent Republican Rep. Matt Wand deserves a second term, despite a strong challenge from Democrat Chris Gorsek. As a freshman legislator, Wand, an attorney, showed his effectiveness in the 2011 and 2012 sessions. He will be a fierce defender of East County’s interests in 2013.

House District 50: Incumbent Democratic Rep. Greg Matthews faces a nominal challenge from Republican Logan Boettcher. Matthews is a near-perfect match for his Gresham-area constituency and he has been an effective, reliable and collaborative legislator. He deserves a third term.

Troutdale mayor: Doug Daoust, a long-time city councilor, offers Troutdale the chance to move beyond the divisiveness created by incumbent Mayor Jim Kight. We would endorse just about anyone in order to unseat Kight, who has embarrassed his city with ethical lapses. However, Daoust also offers a steady, clear style of leadership that will be a breath of fresh air for Troutdale and its partner cities in East County.

Damascus mayor: As we noted on Friday, candidate Mary Wescott can be a voice of unity and help move this city beyond the poisonous political atmosphere of the past few years.

Measure 26-141: Despite all the noise surrounding this measure, which would change Gresham’s method of electing city councilors, we have yet to hear a compelling reason to make the switch to council districts. Voters should say no to districts, and continue the current practice of electing councilors citywide.




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