Casinos would degrade community

I think I speak for the vast majority, if not all, Hood River casino opponents when I say that I greatly respect the Warm Springs people, and admire their desire to gain independence and sustainable economic stability. I even believe Mr. (Dennis) Karnopp's comments (Another Voice, Aug. 8) that a Warm Springs casino building would be as attractive as possible, and that the tribe has demonstrated the high quality of their character over the past 146 years.

None of that, however, diminishes the detrimental effect that patrons of the casino would have on Hood River and the surrounding area. An East Side casino -- no matter how beautifully it was -- would absolutely assure that the lives of some Hood River residents would be destroyed as victims of intoxicated drivers, divorce, bankruptcy, crime and domestic abuse. This isn't hysterical nonsense. Rather, it's a natural (and quantifiable) part of the aftermath that affects local communities surrounding all casinos. The only variable is the degree to which it occurs. Would drunken motorists departing a Hood River casino kill hundreds of people each year? Probably not. How many would be acceptable? I have only two parents, who live on Highway 35, so for me, two casualties would be absolutely devastating. A casino on the East Side -- by anyone's calculation -- would increase the amount of these types of destruction and hardship.

Mr. Karnopp may be correct that the Tribe has every right to attempt to build a casino on Hood River's East Side. By the same token, myself and other area residents have the right, and will continue with all our might, to stand and defend the well being of our community. I don't pretend to know what the best solution to the overall issue is, but I can only believe there must be a better way.

Jim Haun

Hood River

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