Stepped-up security at Hayden Island’s notorious Lottery Row is a welcome sight for neighbors. A better sight, however, would be for the collection of lottery businesses to disappear altogether.

As reported in the Jan. 30 Portland Tribune, security guards hired by Lottery Row’s landlord are helping to make drug busts and reduce prostitution, public indecency and other unsavory acts.

The aggressive effort to fight crime is improving the Hayden Island environment in the short run, but it also reminds everyone that a gambling emporium such as Lottery Row shouldn’t exist in the first place. Oregon voters have made it known numerous times — and as recently as November 2012 — that they do not want nontribal casinos in this state. With 12 lottery bars clustered in one strip mall, Lottery Row is nothing more than a casino in disguise.

Lottery Row stands as proof that casinos attract criminal behavior. We applaud efforts by the landlord and businesses to crack down on vice — at a cost of more than $30,000 per month for the added security. That amount, however, is peanuts when compared with the millions of dollars being generated by the lottery and these businesses as they prey on people’s addictions. Despite the increased security, it is still incumbent on the state Lottery Commission to follow through on its commitment to reduce the number of lottery outlets at Hayden Island.

Contract Publishing

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