On Tuesday, a controversial statewide measure to allow Oregon’s first nontribal casino to be established in Wood Village was soundly defeated by Oregon.
The Secretary of State’s office reported 584,542, or 68 percent, based on early returns with 100 percent of precincts reporting, of Oregon voters decided against changing state law, while 274,563, or 32 percent, voted to accommodate a casino at the former Multnomah Kennel Club dog track at 223rd Avenue and Halsey Street.
Matt Rossman said he and Studer have learned a lot in their latest attempt for an East County casino. He collaborated with fellow Lake Oswego developer Bruce Studer to back the casino project.
He said, “We’re disappointed, but you have to remember, from a historical perspective, of the 21 other states that have commercial casinos, most did not fare well the first time around. We’re looking at the situation, and we may come back in 2012, referring to the next election cycle the measure could be reintroduced. We know we have to improve the ballot measure, so we can avoid some of the obstacles we dealt with.”
A vocal proponent of the project, Wood Village Mayor Dave Fuller said he remains convinced that a casino and entertainment complex would provide a positive economic dynamo for East County.
He said, “I have not changed my mind that that’s probably the best opportunity for economic development that could come into the east metro area. It’s unfortunate there were so many roadblocks put up by the secretary of state and other people in giving it a fair and even chance. But it is what it is.”
A Wood Village resident who helped form a group to oppose the casino, Tim Hesson said he’s pleased with the message Oregon voters sent.
He said, “I think it’s a good thing. The people of Oregon have spoken. This is something they don’t want. I hope the mayor of Wood Village will see that and move on. It’s a good thing for the livability of Wood Village”.
Based on a legal opinion, Rossman and Studer decided not to appeal the decision and pressed on, from a Portland law firm they hired that the constitutional change wasn’t necessary to establish the complex. The proposed “Wood Village Park” casino would have included a water slide, concert hall, cinemas, restaurants and bowling alley, among other amenities, with financial backing from Toronto, Canada-based Clairvest.