Proponents of Grange casino measures suspend campaign

Proponents of Grange casino measures suspend campaign
The Grange Wood Village Casino (photo courtesy of The Grange).

WOOD VILLAGE, Ore. – Proponents of a proposed casino in Wood Village announced Tuesday that they are suspending the campaign for ballot measures 82 and 83, and will no longer run paid advertisements in support of the casino.

“Despite the enthusiasm that has greeted us as we literally made our way across Oregon, in the last few weeks it appears to the campaign team that not enough Oregon voters are ready to add a private casino to the state's gaming options,” said Stacey Dycus, the campaign manager for Yes on 82 and 83.

“Despite this, we continue to strongly believe a tax-paying casino would benefit Oregon’s economy and schools, which are both in great need.  We would all be honored to be partners in an entertainment destination and casino that showcased the best that Oregon has to offer.

“In the end, the final decision is up to the voters, and we will continue to hope for the best on Election Day.”

The ballot measures would give developers the go ahead to create a non-tribal casino and resort in Wood Village.

Casino proponents believe The Grange would not only provide jobs for the local economy, but also generate money for parks, police and schools - as much as $100 million.

Opponents of the casino project announced that the state Republican and Democratic parties had both come out against the proposal. Last week, three former Oregon governors joined current Gov. John Kitzhaber, who recently filmed a television commercial urging a 'no' vote, in opposing the proposal.

The primary investors behind the project are two Canadian companies with extensive experience in the gambling industry. The developers have blanketed airwaves and mailboxes with promises of $100 million for schools and public services.

“We want to thank the individual Oregonians who have endorsed The Grange and lent their names, faces, voices and reputations to our cause and our advertising,” said Dycus. “We want to thank the union members and small business leaders who share our vision for the thousands of jobs with health care and millions in additional revenues for Oregon. And we want to thank our hard-working campaign staff who embraced an inspirational vision of what could be and communicated this vision in a positive, straightforward manner.”

Dycus declined to be interviewed by KATU News Tuesday.

A group opposing the ballot measures said news of the campaign suspension won't stop them from fighting the measures until Election Day.

"Regardless of whether or not the corporate backers of 82 and 83 will continue to spend millions more to continue to try and convince voters, we will continue our campaign to educate voters about the realities of these measures," said Cynara Lilly, spokeswoman for the group Still a Bad Idea/No on 82 and 83.

"It’s clear that the proponent’s misleading ads attempting convince voters to fundamentally alter how gambling is managed in Oregon have not connected with voters--despite having spent more than $6 million on a glitzy ad campaign."

An exclusive KATU News poll conducted by SurveyUSA last month found 43 percent of likely voters planned to vote against Measure 82, with 27 percent in support and 31 percent undecided.

That put the casino plan in line to fail like two years ago when Oregon voters rejected a similar casino push by a 2 to 1 margin.


News release from Yes on 82 and 83:

Proponents of ballot measures 82 and 83 announced today that they are suspending campaign operations and will no longer be running paid communications in support of a proposed Wood Village casino.
 
“We knew when we began this process that it would be a challenge to break the existing political and gaming monopoly in Oregon, but we also knew that there was a great opportunity to create a unique entertainment destination in Wood Village that provided jobs and new revenues for schools and public services.
 
We appreciate the opportunity to have worked with Oregon businesses and organized labor to advance this campaign – and there are many people we want to thank.  We want to thank the tens of thousands of everyday Oregonians who have embraced The Grange and shared their ideas and enthusiasm with their friends and others through social media. We want to thank the city leaders of Wood Village who took the time to thoughtfully review plans for The Grange and lent their advice and support.

We want to thank the individual Oregonians who have endorsed The Grange and lent their names, faces, voices and reputations to our cause and our advertising. We want to thank the union members and small business leaders who share our vision for the thousands of jobs with health care and millions in additional revenues for Oregon. And we want to thank our hard-working campaign staff who embraced an inspirational vision of what could be and communicated this vision in a positive, straightforward manner. 

Despite the enthusiasm that has greeted us as we literally made our way across Oregon, in the last few weeks it appears to the campaign team that not enough Oregon voters are ready to add a private casino to the state's gaming options. Despite this, we continue to strongly believe a tax-paying casino would benefit Oregon’s economy and schools, which are both in great need.  We would all be honored to be partners in an entertainment destination and casino that showcased the best that Oregon has to offer.

In the end, the final decision is up to voters, and we will continue to hope for the best on Election Day. We believe we have made a positive, compelling case for a casino and entertainment center that truly would be fun for you and good for Oregon.  Over the next three weeks we urge everyone to carefully review the voter's pamphlet, our website and campaign materials from both sides of the campaign and make up their own minds.

Regardless of the end result, we remain grateful for the opportunity to present our proposal and thankful to all those who have joined us in this effort.”