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Readers Respond to Tribes’ Objections to Dutch Bros.’ Horse Racing Gamble

“Class, Oregon style; make a little money, build a casino.”

This month, WW reported on the objections of Oregon’s nine Indigenous tribes to a proposal by Dutch Bros. Coffee founder Travis Boersma to install 225 betting terminals at a horse track in Grants Pass (“Dutch Colonialism,” Nov. 10, 2021). Oregon has historically protected the tribes’ exclusive claim to casinos. Gov. Kate Brown had stood by as the proposal for terminals at the Flying Lark moved forward. After WW raised questions, Brown gently urged the Oregon Racing Commission to delay approval of the machines. Here’s what our readers had to say.

Allison B, via Twitter: “A billionaire capitalizing on a loophole that’ll harm Oregon’s Indigenous tribes absolutely needs to be challenged.”

Jerry Channell, via Facebook: “Class, Oregon style; make a little money, build a casino.”

Frank Semonious, via wweek.com: “Near every Dutch Bros. is a small mom and pop coffee stand that obviously needs our business more than Dutch Bros. does. (In St. Helens, Ore., it’s called Javalation and it is 100% better than any other place I have ever bought coffee.) They are so rich they need to build a tax shelter. Now I have two reasons to never buy their products.”

mama k, via Twitter: “Why does this feel like an episode of Yellowstone? Travis is the bad guy.”

Kurt Chapman, via wweek.com: “That some off-track betting on horse races in other locations would harm tribal ‘take’ up at Seven Feathers, the nearest casino, is laughable. Canyonville is about an hour away through some pretty windy mountain pass miles. Certainly not an Uber ride away like the Ilani is to Portlandia.

“Also it now appears Boersma, once the darling of progressives for his Horatio Alger rise to success, must now become reviled because he is a ‘billionaire’ due to Dutch Bros. going public.”

Blunt from the Bloc, via Twitter: “Every day is a dystopian nightmare for Indigenous folks. It’d be cool if it wasn’t like that.”

Leon Trotsky, via wweek.com: “Only the libertarian WW, where there are no sex or drug crimes, would think enabling exclusive gambling rights to the Tribes is a way to solve their economic woes. It’s like, let’s infect them with another white man’s curse.”

Anne J. Applegate, via wweek.com: “Surely there are other ways to create income other than continuing a tradition of profiting off of the weaknesses and mental health disorders of others…regardless of race. Continuing to build more of these gambling establishments, regardless of their affiliation to native tribes or not, is irresponsible, callous, and negligent when it comes to the well-being of our future generations and all Oregonians who are currently affected.”

LETTERS to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: PO Box 10770, Portland, OR 97296. Email: mzusman@wweek.com.