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Activists File Lawsuit to Block Oregon Casino

16 September 2003

PORTLAND, Oregon – As reported by the Associated Press: "Anti-casino activists filed a lawsuit Monday in the state Supreme Court to block a planned tribal casino in the coastal town of Florence, a move that could affect the existing gaming compacts with Oregon's eight other tribes, all of which operate casinos.

"The group People Against a Casino Town argues that former Gov. John Kitzhaber violated the state constitution when he signed a gaming compact with the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Siuslaw and Lower Umpqua Indians.

"The tribe is the last of nine federally recognized tribes in the state without a casino and this year won a federal lawsuit that ended a six-year struggle with state authorities.

"…At issue in Oregon is a clause in the state constitution banning gambling. That was updated in a voter-approved amendment in 1984 that created the state lottery, but specifically banned casino gambling.

"…`When you look at the constitution, it's really pretty clear, that there shall be no casinos,' said Susie Dewberry, a spokeswoman for the anti-casino group.

"…The suit — which follows a legal strategy that has been successful in halting casinos in New York and New Mexico — argues that a governor cannot legally sign a compact with a tribe to create a casino…"

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