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$340 million lottery ticket bought in Oregon gold rush town

Oct 20, 2005, 1:46 pm

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A Powerball ticket worth $340 million was sold in the Gold Rush town of Jacksonville, Oregon lottery officials said today morning.

Lottery officials said the winner or winners have not yet stepped forward to claim the largest jackpot in the game's history and the second-biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. Jacksonville is near Medford in the southwest part of the state.

They said the tickets were sold at one of the two retailers in Jacksonville — Ray's Food Place and J'ville Tavern.

The store that sold the winning ticket will receive a $100,000 bonus for the sale.

The announcement capped a day of heavy sales in all 27 states where Powerball is played, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Lottery spokesman Chuck Baumann cautioned it might take days for the winner to turn in the ticket: "We advise them to get their 15 minutes of fame out of the way at a press conference, but it's up to the winners to decide what to do."

Baumann said the longer the winner waits before calling is usually a good sign "because it means people have probably contacted financial advisers on how to handle the money."

Besides the winning $340 million ticket, there were four other tickets sold in Oregon that had the five winning numbers, minus the Powerball. Those are usually worth $200,000 each, but because the jackpot grew so large, lottery officials diverted some money into a bonus pool for those winners. They will receive an additional $650,000, for a total of $850,000.

One of those four tickets was also sold in Jacksonville. The three others were sold in Tualatin, Woodburn and Roseburg.

Also on Wednesday, the Oregon lottery announced the Megabucks $2.6 million jackpot winner. The winning ticket was bought in Portland.

If the winner of the $340 million jackpot chooses to take the money in a lump sum, he or she will receive $110 million after taxes. Oregon would receive roughly $13 million in taxes and the federal government would take $41 million.

The winner can choose instead to take 30 annual payments. By doing so, Baumann estimates they would average $7.6 million a year.

In the early morning drizzle, millionaire hopefuls in Oregon shared stories of lucky charms and near misses. "They're still on my fridge under my lucky magnet," said Roger Dowell, 35, a store manager at QFC, a grocery store in Portland, who said he purchased six tickets last night.

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