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Oregon Lottery winner won't retire

Feb 25, 2014, 7:00 pm

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Oregon Lottery

You've just won the Oregon Lottery Win for Life game, so how do you celebrate?

By dining at Marco Polo Global Restaurant, of course.

That's what Shamus Harmon did last week after claiming his Win for Life prize at Oregon Lottery headquarters.

"I am one of the most boring lotto winners, I'm sure," he said.

Or one of the smartest.

Harmon, a 34-year-old safety trainer who lives in Salem, said his first plan for the windfall is to pay off his mortgage within five years.

He will receive weekly installments of $1,000 — minus taxes — for the rest of his life. That's about $666 per week.

"I'm going to pretty much throw all of it right at the house," he said. "Then after that, I don't know."

Traveling might be on his agenda, including a return trip to Australia. He is single and has no children.

Harmon is not the youngest Win for Life winner. Eric Cottrell of Salem was 21 when he claimed his Win for Life prize in August 2009.

Win for Life tickets are $2 each, and drawings are every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The odds of winning the top prize in Win for Life, which has been on the Oregon Lottery menu since February 2001, are 1 in 1,353,275.

Harmon is the 36th top prize winner in Win for Life. He bought his winning ticket at the Fred Meyer on Market Street NE. He stopped last weekend at the same store to buy Girl Scout cookies and decided while he was there to check his lottery tickets at the customer service counter. He also had one for Mega Millions and for Powerball.

The Powerball jackpot was nearing $400 million at the time, so he probably would have rather had that be the winning ticket. But make no mistake, Harmon is grateful. It just hit him the past couple of days how lucky he is.

"I could retire if I wanted to," he said, "but I'm not going to."

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