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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 20, 2012 10:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was A matching gift for Josh Berger. The next post in this blog is Extreme pretzel logic with Cogen. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Zombie hotel deal being cooked up in Metro back room

Teri Dresler, the Metro official overseeing the convention center hotel RPF, said the staff's goal is to have a recommendation to the Metro Council by mid-August. The agency will withhold releasing more public information until then, she wrote in an email.

And OMG, maybe it will be a Hyatt! Oh, goody goody goody!

As for the recently peddled line of malarkey that the taxpayers won't be subsidizing the project this time around, it's patently false:

A convention center hotel won't be built without public assistance, [Hyatt executive] Tarr said. "When you're talking about a full-service hotel, particularly one with a lot of group meeting space, they're simply not financeable without some form of subsidy," he said. "That's the reality. It's no different in Portland."

There will be subsidy, but how big? The Metro mustelae will tell you that it's going to be small. How small? Sorry, can't tell you. It's being worked out in the back room, with no public disclosure. We'll tell you after the staff has decided.

What a disgrace.

Comments (11)

I'd guess by subsidies:
- They'll waive SDCs
- Exempt them from prop taxes for a while
- Exempt them from room taxes for a while
- Donate some land or sell it cheap
- Fast track any apps thru CoP
- Figure out some kind of 0% PDC loans
Basically anything they want if they will please, please, please build.

I think that's what Ashforth was going to get a couple of years ago. Remember its all those glam Motel6 jobs (I probably should accept it will give some of the 40% of the high school non-grads in OR a career) we're creating! Plus the only reason the Convention Center isn't working is because we just haven't thrown enough money at it!

I'm sure the other hoteliers in town are feeling the love.

Why do we have so many liars in public office? Is it because they know almost no one in Portland cares?

And you left off the list:

- Put real hotels out of business that are currently competing in the downtown / close-in eastside market without said subsidies

Just curious, why do you need a Convention Center hotel with "a lot of group meeting space" when you have the CONVENTION CENTER?

It seems that developers always want to build as much square footage as they can scam through (and with as much public subsidy as possible to transfer as much risk as possible to the public). Otherwise, they always say, as a convenient excuse, it "won't pencil out." The proposed new 60,000 square foot (!) Lake Oswego library is a prime example. Never mind that most libraries will likely be obsolete in 20 years.

Yes, the irony is that there will be plenty of available land to build a hotel on once this new hotel puts the other lower-end hotels in the area out of business.

Just curious, why do you need a Convention Center hotel with "a lot of group meeting space" when you have the CONVENTION CENTER?

Yes, isn't it great to know that the hotel we help some private corporation build in order to make our Convention Center more attractive will turn around and start competing with the Convention Center for small(er) meetings?

Why isn't there an amendment to the state Constitution that bans governments (state or any level below) from operating any entity, facility, operation, business, etc., unless:

1. There is absolutely ZERO interest from the private sector (there must also not be any competing private business)

2. It passes a majority vote by those who would have to pay for it or guarantee the bonds, in a general election (no September or March elections, or primaries that most people ignore),

3. It must not require operational subsidies without explicit voter approval separate from #2 that authorizes the facility,

4. The voters have the right to shut down the operation at any time.

This is going to be just like the convention center hotel we just got in Dallas. Privatize the profits and socialize the risk, and who cares that the hotel is mostly empty through most of the year? (Actually, that's not completely fair: Belo, the company that controls both the Dallas Morning News and our ABC affiliate, has a significant investment in property on which the hotel was built, so it's in both media venues' best interests to hide any problems with the hotel. Imagine if the Oregonian was under a block against writing anything negative about the zombie hotel, and that gives you an idea as to what we're facing.)

"Just curious, why do you need a Convention Center hotel with "a lot of group meeting space" when you have the CONVENTION CENTER?"

Uh-oh, I think I hear someone who needs to attend the METRO intensive re-education camp this summer.

Steve: ;-)

Trust me, I'd be one of the many people that Metro would NOT want at one of their meetings or "training" sessions.

I'd show up with photos of the storm water drainage ditch at the back of my property that Metro, and their all too eager lap dogs down at LO City Hall, has slapped with the same "riparian habitat" classification as West Hayden Island. With the classification comes a 150 foot buffer of development restrictions (meaning restrictions on not only building, but anything else I might want to do in my backyard).

From Portland Audubon's webs site:

1) West Hayden Island is a critically important natural area:

- It contains 826-acres of intact habitat including 39 acres of wetlands and 4% of the remaining intact cottonwood bottomland habitat between rivermile 12 and rivermile 145.

- It is home to at least 81 species of birds, 9 mammal species, 4 amphibian species (including bald eagles, western painted turtles, and provides critical habitat for federally listed salmon.

***It is designated as Class 1 riparian habitat and a "Habitat of Concern" under Metro's Title 13.

-Former US Fish and Wildlife Service State Supervisor Kemper McMaster has written the West Hayden Island is considered "an important conservation asset regardless of its location. Its presence on and otherwise highly urbanized landscape accentuates its importance."

This is just a small example of the out of control power that Metro wields.

Belo, the company that controls both the Dallas Morning News and our ABC affiliate, has a significant investment in property on which the hotel was built, so it's in both media venues' best interests to hide any problems with the hotel.

Belo = KGW, a.k.a. Portland's NBC affiliate, a.k.a. Newschannel 8, a.k.a. Channel 8, a.k.a. Tracy Barry and Joe Donlon, a.k.a. KING Broadcasting.


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