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Friday, February 23, 2007

City of Portland still in on the convention hotel -- big time

A couple of different correspondents have alerted me to a startling factoid: Although the city is claiming to be turning the awful white elephant convention center hotel scam over to Metro, and although Metro purports to be still just "studying the financing" for it, there is $3.7 million in the Portland Development Commission 2007-08 budget for the project.

Hey, Mayor Potter! Are we in this, or out of this? And precisely what's the $3.7 million for?

Comments (12)

There was $1.6 million in last year's budget as well. That's $5.3 million over two years. What's in blazes is going on?

I repeat. Mayor, Would you please explain why PDC is budgeting millions for a hotel you are against building with public funds. What the HELL is going on.Serious, I believe you owe the public a response, or is it really the same old game. Please say it ain't so.

It all makes sense when you consider the fluctuation of the Swiss franc.

Who's going to come to stay when there are no businesses left? I know, a coffee roaster convention. Even better, a furrier convention. This city is completely f@#^ed in the head and dishonest to boot.

The thing that is so very sad, is that this convention center hotel is another nail in the coffin of what makes Portland so unique.

I remember listening to a business film way back in the 70's and the narrator complaining that at a Holiday Inn in Alaska that its lobby looked exactly the same with the same plastic plants and menu as the Holiday Inn in Florida he stayed at the week before, and how society was being driven out of thier minds by the lack of "weirdness" using the Portland word for it.

I remember as a designer for that company, a automotive manufacturer in the 70's, #1 at the time, they were lamenting that Japanese manufacturers were getting an ever increasing foothold in the US market.

At that time the new designs consisted of scaling the old model up or down and thowing some different trim or paint on it.

The presentation on the hotel clones was supposed to get us to think outside the box as to what the US consumer wanted, Unfortunatley we all know how that story ends.

That is the same rut I see city planners in, the very same rut automotive designers were in trying to put lipstick on a pig and letting function and quality go to hell.

The convention business isn't looking for the next made-up pig, they are looking at a unique experience that will attract attendees which drives vendor income and the success of the program. If Portland would get its act together and capitalize on the the unique cluster of downtown hotels, clean up the homeless problem so people feel safe again, and organize a travlers guide to transit that connects most of the shopping districts and hot spots right outside the hotel doors, and help convention planners coordinate unique dining experiences and venues, an explace to explore, wading in the forecourt fountain attending a convention with my Dad in the 60's is still one of my fondest memories of this place.

If we stopped trying to follow trends deemed by some consulting firm the only way to go, and did the Portland Weird thing, the cities convention business would boom.

Instead we get the same plastic plants and rubber chicken dinners in some massive convention center hotel, and undermine the wonderful restored treasures we have downtown and pumping the local economy and tourist industry by featuring our weirdness. .

I only wish they were so persistent when the discussion turns to operating the Wapato Jail.

Maybe if we extended the Yellow Line out to the prison's gate?

Potter has said repeatedly that he's against the hotel. But he'll waste $7 million plus of public money on an idea that he doesn't like?

Yeah, great, let's put him in charge of everything. Then he can shrug off every dumb decision made in the city.

Potter has said repeatedly that he's against the hotel.

News to me. Everybody's been "expressing skepticism," but the tax money train keeps a-rollin' on.

"Expressing skepticism" is the typical politicians way to vote/support a project, but when it goes bad they fall back on their "skepticism". Like they did with the tram, Burnside Bridgehead project, waterbilling fiasco, Cascade UR, PGE Park, Convention Center, Rose Garden, etc., etc.

If we ran some high-speed transit from the convention center out to the sleeping slammer, we could use the Wapato jail as the convention center hotel. How's that for weirdness?

I took that to be Mr. Tee's suggestion, and figured that I should say it directly.

Remember folks, the Mayor has only one vote on city council. He is opposed to the City financing a convention center hotel, but he has only one vote. If it comes down to a vote at City Council, it only takes three...

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