Oregon Casino Initiative Pushed to 2008

Portland — The petitioners of a proposed casino have decided to wait and postpone their push for the first non-tribal casino in Multnomah County Oregon until the November 2008 election.

Lake Oswego investment adviser Bruce Studer and attorney Matthew Rossman are the forces behind the said petition. Studer and Rossman had proposed two measures: one to remove the constitutional prohibition on casinos, and the other to place the casino at a defunct greyhound track in Wood Village.

They said they had concluded there is not enough time before a July 7 deadline to gather enough voter signatures to qualify the initiatives for the Nov. 7 ballot.

The duo got the go-signal to collect signatures to create the state’s first non-Indian casino Monday and put it before voters in the upcoming election. The timing of the approval however, was deemed too short to gather the 175,000 valid signatures needed. No initiative campaign has ever gathered that many signatures in such a short span of time. Understandably, they had concluded there is not enough time before a July 7 deadline to gather enough voter signatures to qualify the initiatives for the Nov. 7 ballot.

Although the pair believed that this task is doable, they decided not to move forward with the signature gathering campaign this past weekend.

“We had a solid plan to gather the necessary signatures in a short time period,” the committee’s consultant Roger Gray said in a statement. “But, as the timeline moved, we were evaluating our alternatives day to day.”

The casino backers tried to begin gathering signatures months ago. However, the state attorney general’s office twice required them to rewrite their initiatives to be constitutionally acceptable.

“We have the right idea, at the right location and the benefits of this project for all Oregonians are just too great to walk away from,” says Studer in a statement. “By moving to the 2008 election, we will have sufficient time and are confident we will succeed.”

The two Lake Oswego men said they are to refile the casino initiative for the November 2008 general election in the upcoming weeks. They also stated that they will publicly identify members of their ownership group by the end of the year.

Studer and Rossman have never disclosed who is financially backing their effort in the casino initiative.

The withdrawal of this particular casino initiative means that there will be no gambling-related ballot measures on this year’s election. However, gambling may still be a major theme in the gubernatorial campaign.

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