Morning Roundup: Marijuana taxes hit cities; Cowlitz gamble on casino

Oregon cities consider marijuana tax, and Cowlitz tribe reveals details of new casino project

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Potland. The Portland City Council is considering a 3% tax on recreational marijuana sales. This tax, if referred to voters, would be in addition to the 25% tax already in place. But a bill passed last year will reduce the state tax to 17% while allowing cities and counties to consider an additional 3% tax. Commissioner Amanda Fritz said the tax would fund public health resources, with a focus on drug and alcohol consumption. The Portland Business Journal has more.

In Eugene, City Councilor Claire Syrett is making the same request of her peers. The Register Guard reports other Lane County cities are considering the same issue. This trend is likely to continue across the state as the September 8 ballot deadline approaches.

Potholes. In other tax news, Clackamas County is considering a gas tax to maintain its roads. Voters in the May primary supported an unspecified revenue measure to fix county roads. Since the vote, the Board of Commissioners has considered either a gas tax or a vehicle registration fee. The Oregonian reports the county prefers the $5 vehicle registration fee, but the cities prefer a 6 to 8-cent gas tax. Both options would raise about $8.5 million in annual revenue.

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Ready, set, gamble. At a press conference Monday, the Cowlitz Tribe unveiled details for its new casino. Named Ilani, the $500 million project should be complete in the spring of 2017. Ilani will be located 17 miles north of Vancouver, making it the closest casino to Portland. The facility will span 368,000 square feet and contain 2,500 slot machines, 80 gaming tables and 15 different shops. OPB has more.

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Books are back. Amazon announced it will open its third brick-and-mortar books store at Washington Square in Tigard. The first bookstore was opened in Seattle last November, and Amazon recently announced its second store in San Diego. The Oregonian reports the store will open this fall. 

Toxic worms. As Portland and other cities grapple with the fallout from environmental pollutants, a Eugene company develops a natural method to test for environmental toxins. Read more in my blog.



Rates to remain low. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke before the U.S. Senate banking Committee this morning. During the question and answer session, Yellen confirmed suspicions that the federal interest rate is not likely to increase given the recent jobs report indicating slow growth. Reuters has the speech highlights.

Intel’s downfall. For the first time, Intel does not have the best supercomputer. The Top500 was published Monday, which ranks the world’s fastest supercomputers. The fastest computer is not only located in China, but contains Chinese microprocessor chips instead of those manufactured by Intel. The list slip is due to a number of factors, the New York Times reports, including blocked sales of microprocessors to China.