10/02/2001 11:00PM

Hopes are dimmer at Portland Meadows

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Prospects for a 2001-2002 meeting at Portland Meadows, which seemed bright just a week ago, were nearly extinguished this week when the Environmental Protection Agency added a new requirement for the track's proposed storm water retention plan.

The EPA told Magna Entertainment, which had hoped to operate a meeting at Portland Meadows beginning Oct. 20, that the company's storm water retention system must be in place by Jan. 1, 2002.

Art McFadden, Magna's representative in Oregon, said he was surprised and disappointed by the EPA's additional requirement to an oral agreement that was reached last week. He said Magna cannot meet the EPA's deadline and must now consider alternatives to the scheduled Portland Meadows meeting.

Dick Cartney, executive secretary for the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said there is still a slim chance the meeting can be rescued.

"We're still trying to deal with the EPA, and we are asking them to consider one plan that would allow the meeting to open," he said. "It's a longshot possibility, though. Right now things look pretty bleak."

Meanwhile, the Oregon Racing Commission will meet via teleconference on Thursday to consider extending the current Multnomah Greyhound Park meeting, which would allow statewide simulcasting to continue uninterrupted.