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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Is the Convention Center hotel dead?

I'll believe it when I see it.

Comments (20)

Dead is always the wrong word to use when forcing a (temporary) halt to boondoggles, because, like clearcuts, all reprieves are temporary, only losing is final. In other words, the scam artists only have to win once; people fighting against them have to win every time.

Better yet - Tt has been replaced by two stadia. You din't think they'd miss a chance to spend other people's money did you?

The leading site for a new stadium appears to be property now occupied by the obsolete, under-used city-owned Memorial Coliseum, a few blocks north of the Convention Center.

Wait, I thought the location was in Lents?

Memo to Nigel: You've got the Pulitzer so what do I know...but there is a nasty rumor out there that the press is merely a public relations firm for the powers that be. I know, I know. It's so unfair. I mean it's not like the press abandoned its traditional duty to question the federal government these last 8 years. Okay, bad example.
What we need is reporting that at least tries to give the appearance of objectivity. That may be all we have left. So when you write about this ghastly convention hotel facing extinction, I would refrain from saying it would take a "miracle" to save it. 5 words in and you've already sided with the people who want to build these things with taxpayer money. It just doesn't sound right.
I know many people who work in the hotel business, and believe me, they don't see this as any gift from a divine power. Imagine if the city government went into the weekly newspaper business and used your taxes to take ads away from WW?

Why not let the hotel business work itself out without a central planning committee mucking everything up? It's competitive enough without playing "let's pretend" with this too. Besides, I wouldn't trust our local politicians to run a Motel 6, much less something that cost 100s of millions of dollars.
So if you have to use religious imagery, I would also include the notion that the convention hotel could be the work of Satan. Thanks, and congrats again for the Pulitzer. You made us all very proud.

Wait, I thought the location was in Lents?

You missed the memo. Sam the Tram's developer bosses told him they want the stadium at the coliseum site so that they can turn that district into the next SoWhat.

Go by streetcar!

How did y'all get yourselves into such a pickle with this collective group of dimwits? I can't imagine you voted these geniuses into office did you?

The Memorial Coliseum isn't obsolete, it just needs maintenance. A well designed, award winning, well built building should last more than 40 years-with proper maintenance. Why can't our governmental stewards recognize this?

Oh, if they can convince the taxpayers things are obsolete they can build new things with their names on it and the development mafia can keep contributing to their elections.

Save the Memorial Coliseum. It's historic. The Beatles played there.

Metro staffers say to move to the next level of analysis would require an additional $5 million, which Metro is discinclined to spend.

Why the hell does it cost $5m for the NEXT level of analysis? How much has been spent so far? My company makes decisions to break ground on new plants, buy businesses, and launch new products all the time. We put together teams to do this that handle multiple projects each year and our analysts and project managers make about $150K fully burdened. The total cost of one of these teams--labor (members of legal, finance, engineering, etc), travel, consultants (if needed), etc--typically runs $500K to $1M. A project like the convention center would probably cost $1M to $1.5M for our team to reach a full spectrum analysis to make a decision.

lw, you're right. Building the Rose Quarter wasn't - and lobbying for this new development isn't - based upon necessity but rather upon desire. It's the same desire that causes major league sports teams to demand bigger and better stadia on a regular basis whether they are necessary or not.

Over the years the Coliseum and it's associated buildings have hosted many events, large and small, such as the kind of peripheral stuff that fills the Expo Center. The same can't be said of the Rose Quarter which can be like a ghost town and which couldn't sustain most of the businesses and restaurants that opened there. You'll never see an expo show, dog show, or anything else middle or low end in the Rose Quarter but you used to see these things in the Coliseum all of the time.

The Coliseum, an award-winning building that has really nothing wrong with it, was blindsided by the Convention Center, the Rose Quarter and the expansion of the Expo Center. It has no 'raison d'etre' other than that it is a less expensive venue. It needs a new purpose and a face-lift to survive. The economic and social climate is ripe for this type of rebirth rather than razing.

Unfortunately it has the bad luck to be sitting on a large piece of expensive and highly desirable property.

Talk to vets about the "obsolete" nature of either the Memorial Coliseum or the Sunset Highway and prepare to be decked with scorn.

Save Memorial Coliseum. Spent the money to bring the Winter Olympics to Portland where you have three indoor sports/convention facilities in one place (Conv Ctr, Mem. Coliseum, Rose Garden), plus some of the world's most scenic ski parks up on that beautiful mountain that overlooks the city. Then let the hotel companies bid against each other to build that hotel.

The "economic and social climate is ripe" for evaluating our assets is a new light. What better way than to bring the winter Olympics to our city/state and use our existing, updated facilities to sell our sustainability mantra.

"Making do with what you got" then adding some new venues to make it a success without spending billions of dollars could really demonstrate the green, sustainable approach. The Olympic world would relish it and add a new direction to its message.

Save the Memorial Coliseum. It's historic. Barack Obama played there.

Ted: Why the hell does it cost $5m for the NEXT level of analysis?

I'm no financial expert, but I believe they call this "overhead".

"The Memorial Coliseum isn't obsolete, it just needs maintenance. A well designed, award winning, well built building should last more than 40 years-with proper maintenance. Why can't our governmental stewards recognize this?"

Because the roof isn't high enough to play baseball in there, and it's very clear that Sam the Tram doesn't want the Beavers in PGE Park anymore. All those home run shots would smash into the display cube hanging down over center court!

"Why the hell does it cost $5m for the NEXT level of analysis? How much has been spent so far? My company makes decisions to break ground on new plants, buy businesses, and launch new products all the time. We put together teams to do this that handle multiple projects each year and our analysts and project managers make about $150K fully burdened. The total cost of one of these teams--labor (members of legal, finance, engineering, etc), travel, consultants (if needed), etc--typically runs $500K to $1M. A project like the convention center would probably cost $1M to $1.5M for our team to reach a full spectrum analysis to make a decision."

Simple. Your budget excludes pork, and includes accountability.

In this morning's fishwrapper; Rob Park of Metro says that it's doubtful they will pursuee this boondogle any fiurther. I can only hope our formerly BANKRUPT Mayor-elect gets a clue and comes to a similar decision.

Givemeabreak. I worked for the Portland Development Commission in the mid-80's and back then they were working on this 'all-important' project. I recall many staff dedicated to the task of securing a Headquarters Hotel, expending hours ad nauseum to get this project underway.

And with each step of the Convention Center/Rose Quarter development and expansion, the promise of a HQ Hotel was always the carrot on the stick. If we build the infrastructure, we will succeed with the hotel. If we expand the Convention Center, we can get the hotel and finally be competitive with other city's for convention business, etc.

And here we are nearly 30 years later and there has been basically NO progress with this project! Now this is truly what you would call "your government at work."

Overhead = people who fundraised for my last election.

Portland Citizen, I wonder if the PDC has their employees accounting for each minute that is spent by each employee on each project within PDC? It would be interesting to see a full accounting of the time spent on the Convention Hotel for the past 30 years.

Out of the present $285 Million operations budget of PDC per year, how much of those expenses per year should be attributed to the Hotel from that budget and any urban renewal district TIF dollars that may have been used for the Hotel.

I would think it isn't chump change, and I know that PDC staff likes to claim that their internal costs are not a part of an individual project's cost. But it is in the real world.

In the TV news tonite, PDC claimed only $1 Million has so far been spent on the Hotel in these 30 years. Sure.

One would also need to add in the City of Portland planners and other bureau costs, and now add in Metro's costs to determine what the taxpayers have spent just dreaming about the Convention Hotel. Would someone do an accurate accounting, please. It would be insightful if some local media attempted to do so. Might be another Pulitzer.


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