Proponents of Ballot Measures 82 and 83 made the surprise announcement this afternoon that they are calling off their campaign just three days before ballots for the Nov. 6 general election go in the mail.
The news comes after two Canadian investment groups pumped more than $6 million into an effort to get voters to warm up to the idea of a private casino in Wood Village they called "The Grange." In recent weeks, casino proponents used those millions for an all-out marketing blitz featuring slick television ads, planes trailing banners over college football games, glossy mailers and even a custom-painted RV driving around the state.
Backers had hoped voters would give the measures a warmer reception than in 2010, when a similar proposal got crushed, 68 percent to 32 percent.
But all the spending and campaigning wasn't enough.
"We knew when we began this process that it would be a challenge to break the existing political and gaming monopoly in Oregon, but we also knew that there was a great opportunity to create a unique entertainment destination in Wood Village that provided jobs and new revenues for schools and public services," said campaign spokeswoman Stacey Dycus in a statement.
"Despite the enthusiasm that has greeted us as we literally made our way across Oregon, in the last few weeks it appears to the campaign team that not enough Oregon voters are ready to add a private casino to the state's gaming options," Dycus continued. "In the end, the final decision is up to voters, and we will continue to hope for the best on Election Day. We believe we have made a positive, compelling case for a casino and entertainment center that truly would be fun for you and good for Oregon. Over the next three weeks we urge everyone to carefully review the voter's pamphlet, our website and campaign materials from both sides of the campaign and make up their own minds. Regardless of the end result, we remain grateful for the opportunity to present our proposal and thankful to all those who have joined us in this effort."