Non-tribal casino a possibility in Wood Village

Why should I care: These measures could create jobs, fund schools and be a new means of entertainment. Because a portion of the revenue will be dedicated to schools, students can expect less cutbacks, teacher let-offs and better supplies. However, it could also hurt the Native American tribes who depend on the funds to support themselves. The Grange will also be built around school and public parks, and it could pose potential dangers to children.

Measure 82, which will amend the state constitution to authorize privately-owned casinos, and Measure 83, which will authorize the privately-owned casino, The Grange, have been hotly debated since 2005. Currently, privately-owned casinos are illegal in Oregon; the existing casinos are owned by Native Americans in their independent lands. If these measures pass, The Grange will be the first privately-owned casino, and will be built in Wood Village.

But why all the fuss about a single casino? Proponents of the measures say that the building of the casino will create thousands of jobs, fund schools and offer a new mode of entertainment for civilians, according to the campaign’s website, yeson82and83.org. It will give 25 percent of its gaming revenue each year, which is estimated to be about $100 million dollars. Not only that, but it will also give this money to schools and police across the state. More funding for schools means more supplies, less cutbacks and less teacher let offs.

The authorization of the casino will also create approximately 5,000 jobs, according to thegrangeoregon.com. It will also be built in an unused area, previously used for racing greyhounds. The casino aims to provide new entertainment, new jobs and new money for schools– these measures promise a plethora of new activities and opportunities.

On the flip side, there are many citizens and Native American tribes who speak out against these measures. The tribes depend on the revenue that the tribal casinos bring in. These tribes need every earning they can get, and building the casino may harm businesses.

“Their casinos run all of their systems, and they’re one of the only ways they can make money. The casinos were given to the tribes so they could have an income,” Lilly Cynara, the opposing side’s campaign manager, said.

Tribal casinos also freely donate to charities. For example, Spirit Mountain Casino often holds toy drives for the benefit of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. It has donated around $56 million dollars to charities over the past seven years. These tribal casinos also contribute heavily to local businesses in Oregon. According to stillbadfororegon.org, the measures’ opposing campaign website, over 75 percent of the tribal casinos purchase from Oregon businesses.

Aside from the economy, the opponents also say that the casino will harm the quality of life in Oregon.

Historically, casinos have been run by mobsters and gangs. Over the years, casinos have become more localized and user-friendly; however, they are still associated with drugs, alcohol, and increased crime. If passed, the casino will be built within a mile of schools and public parks, according to stillabadidea.org. Exposing children and other civilians to these potential risks can be dangerous.

Oregon, as the state motto goes, “flies with her own wings”. While some argue that these measures will harm Oregon’s unique and close community, others argue that they will benefit Oregon exponentially. If passed, The Grange will be the first privately-owned casino in Oregon. Though campaigning for these measures has been put on hold, they are still up for vote.