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The Observer paper 12/24/14

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With one swift announcement, Gov. Ted Kulongoski has dismissed the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde's proposal to contribute $350 million to build a stadium for major league baseball in Portland.

The Grand Ronde Tribes, owner of the successful Spirit Mountain Casino on the highway to the coast, dangled a fine piece of bait in front of Portland city officials. Grand Ronde Indians said they would provide the money for the ball park if the state and city would allow them to build a casino in Portland. Kulongoski rejected the offer, saying he was not ready to make a decision on off-reservation gambling.

The Grand Ronde Tribes had a significant interest in building a casino in Portland. It knows its competitors, the Warm Springs Indians near Madras, are proposing to build a casino in Cascade Locks, a short drive down Interstate 84 from Portland. A casino in Portland could take the wind out of the sails of the Warm Springs Tribe. Its Cascade Locks proposal also needs Kulongoski's OK.

So why make such a big deal about the location of Indian casinos? Gamblers are going to gamble. The state through its lottery games already is picking the pockets of gamblers. At the very least, Kulongoski should approve the Cascade Locks plan.

And what about a baseball stadium for Portland? The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde have tipped their hands. Why shouldn't they build the stadium on their own land west of McMinnville? Baseball would bring thousands to Spirit Mountain. Of course, Highway 18 would have to be improved to four lanes and a commuter rail linking south Portland to the stadium might need to be considered. The Confederated Tribes could put their money where their reservation is, and build a ballpark there.

Chance to earn $$

Area non-profit groups have an opportunity in coming weeks to make some money for their cause and help out the community's Fourth of July fireworks show at the same time. The Union County Fireworks Action Committee is holding a raffle. Groups that sell tickets can keep 50 percent of the revenue generated by the tickets they sell.

Civic groups, church groups, youth sports teams, school groups, scouting groups all can gain by participating in the fireworks fund-raiser. The tickets will offer a chance to win over 50 prizes. The grand prize is a $1,500, five-minute shopping spree at Albertsons. First prize is a $1,000 shopping spree at Don's Jewelry. Other prizes will include $400 toward the cost of a trip through Alegre Travel, 150 gallons of gas from Waldrop Oil, family and individual recreation passes from EOU, a 25-inch TV from Bi-Mart, a DVD player from Arrow. Tickets will sell for $2 each or three for $5.

Groups interested in taking part can contact Steve Combs, fireworks fund-raising coordinator, at 963-8842.


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