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Friday, August 10, 2007

Ole Man Hotel, he jes' keep rollin' along

The next performance of the Portland Convention Center Hotel Kabuki will take place next week, as Metro holds a public meeting in the dead of midsummer to act like it hasn't already decided to throw nine figures of public subsidies at building the stupid thing. Good money after bad.

Nothing new there. But please make a note: The official buzzword for the project has been changed from "linchpin" to "watershed."

Comments (12)

And what about our carbon footprint?

Do we really want all those people (gasp) flying to Portland for conventions?

If we really cared about the planet, we'd encourage them to stay home, wouldn't we?

I wonder if Ashforth is pushing fo rthe same subsidies as before. At least we can expect the ptoholes will get fixed there.

I'm still amazed how Metro keeps talking people into funding them for a gazillion dollars to buy greenspace and then $300M for the Conv Center. I mean wasnt Metro's only official responsibility garbage and zoos? Talk about mission creep.

"Mission creep" at Metro is a comment right on the money.

Their latest is to fund schools. Specifically to pay Multnomah ESD for the costs of the "Outdoor School".

Metro has no business spending a cent on any school programs.

All of the other layers of government (Counties, CoP, every other little burg, and now Metro) want to be "enablers" of the school systems because its a plus for the career politicians in the Counties, COP, Metro and every other little burg to be able to tout their spending on schools when movng on up the political ranks or switching elected jobs when term limited out.

By being enablers though, the other layers of governments and their elected pols continally postpone any possibility that the schools layer of government will confront their own responsibilities and come to rational financial decisions.

Obligatory on topic comments:

If the convention center headquarters hotel is such a good idea, where is the private capital waiting lined up to build it?

I do hope Rod Park will testify at he hearing and meetings regarding every other convention center hotel in the US in a city the size of the PDX - Couv metro area, and demonstratd that the local convention centers and affilliated headquarters hotels in those cities are making money.

Hell, I'd settle for proof that just one was making money.

Yeah right.

I'm not going to hold my breath.

Nonny Mouse is dead-on. Metro is all about social engineering these days - a far cry from their original mission.

Can we disband it? If a "regional government" was such a great idea, metropolitan districts across the country would be falling over one another to replicate it.

It seems telling that nobody else in the USA wants another METRO. Gosh, I wonder why?

I think Metro is important and has done many good things, but on this issue I agree with many of the commenters I usually disagree with here. Building a convention center hotel with a public subsidy would be a big waste of money and is a generally stupid idea.

Aside from the waste, plopping another largely empty big box across from the convention center will only make one of the least inviting parts of town seem more sterile and uninteresting. The convention center, to the extent it's used at all, is adequately served by the downtown hotels. Almost anyone coming to Portland would be more likely to appreciate the city and want to visit again (if that's the idea behind convention centers) after spending time downtown rather than across the river in the midst of the dull urban mess that's the immediate area of the convention center.

More generally, unless and until Oregon has a sales tax, I don't buy the argument that a convention center brings a net benefit to the state.

Portland is actually a great convention town for a small to medium sized (500-2000) convention.

I have attended three conventions that came to Portland this summer. Two others came last summer. Attendees were, without exception, thrilled with Portland as a convention city.

NONE of these conventions were at the convention center, however. If a convention is coming to Portland, they want to be downtown. That is where the action is, that is where the hotels are, and that is where easy transit to the Pearl and NW 23rd is.

I seldom see even medium size conventions arriving in town now; I don't see how a large hotel will change that equation.

It won't. This stupid formula (build convention center, fail, expand convention center, fail, build hotel, fail) has been played out numerous times elsewhere.

This is all about fat construction and development contracts for people like Ashforth, Walsh, Hoffman Construction, etc. And whatever graft can be skimmed around the edges, legally or otherwise. (I see Neil's back in town.)

We will need a hotel of size if we are to ever use the Oregon Convention Center as a staging point for US workers headed to China.

"Watershed"...how about "outhouse"?
Or is this in reference to the 'Giant Poop Shute' project? which is I understand from my sources, currently on vacation for August.

CRAG was the predecessor to METRO. It's mission was defined as a planning agency for the metro counties to oversee the regions planning. METRO's subsequent Mission is also the coordination of planning. It has certainly exceeded its defined mission and it should be called on it. Like the PDC there needs to be public attention brought to it's wandering ways.

The emphasis is usually on the developers it helps, but what about all the Portlanders it hurts? If you've been competing in the free market, by helping make a hotel downtown viable, do you deserve to have your livelihood damaged because Metro wants to be a Soviet-style central planning committee?

"I think Metro is important and has done many good things"

Up against the reality of what they have cost and mismanaged it is hard to find any "net" benefit. Far from it.
Metro has grown into a meddling bureaucracy of bad managers and activists with so many ulterior motives and loony agendas that stretching the truth is their number one weapon of mass dysfuntion.

As a growth planning agency their incompetence is delivering complete chaos. On and on I could go with example after example but it doesn't matter.

It is futile. That CC hotel will be built without public approval.
Just as sure as Milwaukie Light rail,Beaverton Round expansion etc etc. etc.

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