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Casino Backers Say No Constitutional Amendment Needed

Backers of a proposed non-tribal casino near Portland say they don’t need a voter-approved constitutional amendment to proceed with their project. They say another measure that did make the ballot would be enough.

A couple of investors submitted signatures on a pair of petitions this year. One made the ballot. It sets up the legal framework for a proposed casino in suburban Wood Village.

A second petition failed to make the ballot. It would have removed a section of the state constitution that would seem to ban non-tribal casinos. Now the investors behind the effort claim they didn’t need the constitutional amendment after all.

Their spokesman, Roger Gray, says the Oregon constitution only says the Legislature shall prohibit casinos.

Roger Gray:  “That’s a direct statement as to what the legislative authority is. It doesn’t prohibit the people of Oregon through a ballot initiative to be able to say ‘No, we want one.’”

Not everyone agrees with that analysis.

Portland constitutional attorney Charlie Hinkle believes the constitution clearly bans non-tribal casinos and that can’t be changed by a simple vote of the people.

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