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Our Opinion: Oregonians won't gamble with their votes

Without ever casting a ballot, Oregon voters once again have demonstrated their utter lack of interest in seeing Nevada-style casinos introduced in this state.

Last week, the promoters of two statewide ballot measures that would have allowed a casino in Wood Village threw in the towel on their idea, even before ballots were sent for the Nov. 6 election.

Announcing that they would spend no more money to advocate for Measures 82 and 83, the casino’s backers acknowledged what’s been obvious to most people since this idea was first broached in 2005: The overwhelming majority of Oregon voters have made up their mind about nontribal casinos, and they aren’t about to change their views.

This is especially true in the Portland area, where voters clobbered a 2010 measure that could have advanced the Wood Village casino.

Even in tiny Wood Village, where the municipal government expected to receive millions in revenue from a casino development, a majority of voters opposed the 2010 measure.

Entrenched opposition remains this year, and that’s why recent polls showed — as they have for decades — that Oregonians are solidly against privately owned casinos. Given the futility of their cause, we hope the casino’s backers, including the Canadian company that was financing this campaign, will drop the matter for good.

Oregon residents have more important concerns, and they recognize that adding another form of gambling will do absolutely nothing to improve the economy either locally or statewide.

Our endorsements

While the casino measures are effectively dead, voters can further bury them by making sure to mark their ballots against Measures 82 and 83. Opposing the casino will protect the Portland area’s economy and quality of life, but voters also can take affirmative steps to move Portland forward by electing top-quality candidates to office and by supporting specific ballot measures.

Here’s a recap of the Tribune’s endorsements in Portland campaigns:

Portland mayor: Charlie Hales is the clear choice — and in many ways the only choice — given Jefferson Smith’s self-destructive campaign. Hales, however, is more than just an alternative to Smith. He will bring a great deal of knowledge and a steady hand to City Hall at a time when such leadership is sorely needed.

City Council Position 1: Voters should support challenger Mary Nolan in her race with incumbent Amanda Fritz. Nolan, a state representative, is well qualified to oversee city bureaus, considering that she has managed two city bureaus in the past and also has been a successful business owner.

Multnomah County library district: Measure 26-143 deserves a yes vote. Formation of a library district will provide a permanent funding source for a library system that’s now supported primarily by temporary levies. Plus, the cost is relatively small — for the typical homeowner, it will amount to only about $4 more per month than the current library levy.

Portland school bonds: Voters also should say yes this time to Measure 26-144, the Portland school district’s request for $482 million in bonds. This funding will begin the process of renovating and replacing the city’s aging school buildings. Reforms to the Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund: Here’s a chance for property taxpayers to save themselves $47 million during the next 25 years, while also keeping the faith with police officers and firefighters who depend on the disability and retirement program. Voters should approve Measure 26-145.

City of Portland arts income tax: Voters should reject Measure 26-146. The cause is worthy, but the funding mechanism — a local income tax — would set a poor precedent.