The Oregon Lottery constantly reminds us that it is good for the environment and the community.
By no means is this an intuitive statement; however, it’s a true one. Since the lottery’s launch of the “Oregon Wins” donation program, it’s sent more than $700 million to voter-approved programs. These programs strengthen the state’s ecosystems and people.
For example, the lottery has funded programs in six primary areas:
- State parks
- Natural habitats
- Economic growth
- Outdoor school
- Public schools
- Veterans services
The programs to which the lottery has donated the most money include state parks, natural habitats, and public schools.
State park programs
The lottery’s most significant donations have gone to various park projects throughout the state, including state and neighborhood parks.
One of the lottery’s biggest recent projects was its donation of nearly $870,000 to utility upgrades at Harris Beach State Park in Curry County.
The park is one of the state’s busiest. It’s home to 65 full hook–up sites, 25 electrical sites with water, flush toilets, hot showers, and an RV dump station.
Other big-dollar donations to park projects include:
- Sitka Sedge Natural Area received $824,280 for improvements to parking, fencing, and trail maintenance
- Marion County local parks received $392,000
- Moreover, $287,000 went to help build a nine-acre neighborhood park in South Newberg
The lottery’s donations to the state’s natural habitats have been significant over the past five years. In fact, the Oregon Lottery notes that 7.5% of lottery funds go to “watershed enhancement and salmon restoration.”
In 2019, the lottery contributed millions to a variety of projects across the state. For example, it pitched in $252,788 to the Ni–les‘tun tidal wetland restoration project. The money helped restore 430 acres of tidal marsh and swamp. It was one of the largest restoration projects of its kind, the lottery claims.
Additional significant donations in 2019 included:
- Approximately $362,581 to a project that protected 95 acres of forest by linking the Necanicum Watershed and Tillamook Head.
- A whopping $292,008 to instream water conservation to the Middle Deschutes River
- Furthermore, $169,792 to address issues with failing tidal gates and deteriorating tidal wetlands in Coos County.
Just over half of the lottery’s revenue funded public education in 2018. Moreover, in 2019, the lottery provided $14 million for scholarships to Oregon colleges.
Indeed, the lottery’s resume of school funding is impressive. For reference, one may note the multiple donations of more than $4 million dollars over the past three years:
- $18.3 million to Portland School District
- $15.5 million to the Salem-Keizer School District
- $6.4 million to the Eugene School District
- $4.4 million to the Gresham Barlow School District
- $4.1 million to the Reynolds School District
Several of the projects listed above were part of the lottery’s “Education Wins” program, through which the lottery provided financial support for school supplies and infrastructure.
The lottery contributes more than $12 billion to state programs
The Oregon Wins initiative’s $750 million in program funding is impressive. Still, it’s less than 10% of what the lottery has contributed to various initiatives around the state since the lottery’s inception in 1985. Around 91% of the revenue the Lottery generates is paid out as prizes. The remaining breakdown of spending looks like this:
- 5.5% to funded programs
- 2% to retailers for commissions on winning tickets
- 1.2% to operating expenses
Oregonians can view the projects that the projects financed by Oregon Wins on their website