Oregon gaming questioned in CL casino suit


News staff writer

May 7, 2005

The Cascade Locks No Casino group has joined a legal challenge that questions the Oregon governor’s authority to approve tribal gaming centers.

The lawsuit filed in Marion County by attorney Kelly Clark contends the governor violates the Oregon State Constitution by negotiating gambling compacts. The Portland lawyer argues that Article XV, Section 4(12) of the Constitution prohibits the legislature from allowing or authorizing casinos. Since the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Acts limits compacts to “a state that permits such gaming ...” Clark asserts that Oregon does not have to grant casinos at all. He is bringing the case to court on behalf of Gorge citizens as well as for the Florence group People Against A Casino Town.

Kelly further argues the governor cannot act alone in negotiating the terms of a tribal gambling compact — especially since it is a banned activity.

“He is governor, not emperor. His job is to execute laws and policy made by the policy-making branch (legislature), not to grab power and make policy on his own,” Kelly said.

Richard Randall, one of the plaintiffs in the Gorge suit, said that No Casino, which began with 20 people, was growing in membership because of Kulongoski’s recent action. With the April 6 signing of the compact for a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs casino in the city’s industrial park, Randall said many local citizens feel the state is “telling us what is best for us.”

“There has been no vote, no referendum, nothing at all,” he said. “It is like we live in a monarchy and Kulongoski is King. He tells us, he doesn’t ask us.”

Kelly said there was no public policy debate in the state before Kulongoski decided to allow the state’s first off-reservation casino on public land in the Gorge.

But Dennis Karnopp, attorney for the Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs, said the arguments raised by Kelly are nothing new. He does not believe the courts will overturn Kulongoski’s approval for a 500,000 square foot casino to be built in the industrial park within the city limits. That recommendation has been forwarded to Interior Secretary Gale Norton for her approval or denial by May 22.

“It seems like these are issues that have already been processed by the courts and, on the face, seem to have no merit,” said Karnopp.

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Native Americans could build casinos on tribal lands in any state in which gambling was not criminally prohibited. In response, Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) the next year. Under the federal law, states are required to negotiate “in good faith” with tribes for the terms and conditions of Class III gaming, which includes banking card games, video lottery terminals or any other electronic games of chance.

A tribe cannot offer Class III gaming unless a compact for land it owned prior to the passage of IGRA is negotiated with the state and that agreement is approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Oregon officials believe the state must negotiate compacts with tribes since other gaming is allowed. For example, the state runs a lottery, along with keno, video poker and other gambling activities. In addition charities routinely raise funds through “casino-style” gaming.

To approve the Cascade Locks casino, Kulongoski acted on a provision in IGRA that allows off-reservation casinos if it is beneficial to the tribe and would not be a detriment to the surrounding community. Both Cascade Locks city and port officials have championed the casino as the vehicle to overcome a high poverty and unemployment rate.

However, Clark said Kulongoski’s recommendation for the Cascade Locks site has generated growing controversy and opposition. He believes the legal theory presented by the two citizen groups is strong because The Three Rivers Casino in Florence is being operated out of a tent. According to Clark, if the compact signed in 2003 by Gov. John Kitzhaber was unbreakable, that gaming center would have “bricks and mortar” by now.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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