Measure 75What is it?

The measure changes the state Constitution to allow the state to permit one privately owned casino. One is proposed in east Multnomah County. The casino would contribute a monthly revenue percentage to the state for specified purposes including schools, counties, Oregon State Police and gambling treatment programs.

Where did it come from?

A private business venture led by two Lake Oswego-area businessmen, Matthew Rossman and Bruce Studer, wants to turn the closed dog track site in east Multnomah County into a casino and entertainment complex. If approved, it would be the only non-Indian casino permitted in the state with up to 3,500 slot machines and 150 gambling tables.

What it would do:

Right now the state is barred from allowing non-Indian casinos. This prohibition has its roots in the 1984 constitutional amendment that set up the state Lottery. The measure would allow private business interests to develop a casino in Wood Village. They say their proposal would include a 14-screen movie theater complex, concert hall and convention space, a 290-room resort hotel, bowling lanes and water parks. Supporters point to the threefold benefits of up to 2,500 new jobs, extra tax revenue and a positive use for derelict land.

Reality check:

Casinos are lucrative. Really lucrative. And while they provide some fleeting fun for some, the bank always wins in the long term. They also bring associated problems, including crime and prostitution.

The supporters - who call themselves the Good for Oregon Committee - say the 33-acre Wood Village site would bring in $150 million in annual taxes. The state says this more likely is between $15 million and $68 million, although the gains may be even less when the anticipated loss of video poker revenue is factored in.

Needless to say, video poker vendors and tribal casino managers are against this. The leaders of the Oregon Lottery are seriously concerned about their potential lost revenue. So are many people in the subdivision across the street who will look out of their windows at extra traffic, permanent bright lights and all the other joys casinos bring.

Check the fine print:

The Register-Guard reports that the signature drive to put this on the ballot was financed with $1.1 million from Clairvest, a Canadian-based investment enterprise. Hmm. Other supporters are the Navenante Group of Las Vegas and Innovation Capital of Los Angeles, which invests in gambling and hospitality. Hmm.

Oh, and the measure only allows one casino. Mr. Rossman and Mr. Studer will truly hit the jackpot if this is approved.

The Eagle's recommendation:

No. The whole deal fails to pass the sniff test on so many levels. While government should be supportive of business, changing the Oregon Constitution to benefit two individuals is neither fair nor appropriate.

Measure 70What is it?

A state constitutional amendment that would expand availability of home loans for veterans through the Oregon War Veterans' Fund.

Where did it come from?

Robert Bushman, a veteran, was denied a home loan in 2008 after serving 30 years in the U.S. Air Force Reserve because he hadn't served 210 consecutive days as required by the state constitution. Bushman contacted Rep. Paul Holvey, who co-sponsored the resolution passed by the Legislature to place the amendment on the ballot.

What it would do?

The amendment would expand who can receive loans from the Oregon War Veterans' Fund by removing the 210-day requirement and several other restrictions.

Reality check:

Oregon has about 341,000 veterans. If they qualify, they can obtain low-interest (currently as low as 4 percent) and low-fee home loans for as much as $417,000. The program is financed through sale of state bonds and a dedicated state tax. Passage of the measure would not increase the tax.

Check the fine print:

If the measure passes, a veteran would qualify if he or she served honorably and satisfies other loan requirements or is a qualifying veteran's spouse living in Oregon. Gone would be the 210-day consecutive-service requirement and a condition that the loan application be filed within 30 years of discharge.

The Eagle's recommendation:


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