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|Thursday, August 15, 2013|
BY KEVIN SHETTERLY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
This past January I was contacted by a representative of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT). He was scouting cities for their annual convention, and Portland was high on the list. In 2011 this event had 5,023 attendees and booked 1,200 rooms. My company, Stagecraft Industries, could benefit greatly by this opportunity to showcase our facility to the visiting members of our industry. After his visit, however, I heard that although he really liked our convention center, our restaurants, the city and its people, due to the absence of a ‘headquarter hotel’, USITT had decided to take the convention to Salt Lake City.
This disappointment inspired me to investigate the issue, which has been a problem for the entire 23 years since the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) opened.
According to Metro, Portland lost 30 such conventions in 2011 for lack of a headquarter hotel. A survey of national convention organizers found that they were 79% more likely to bring their business to the OCC with an adjacent convention center hotel, as Portland is a highly attractive convention and travel destination.
Metro projects that a headquarter hotel could attract 5 to 10 new national conventions each year, increase convention related tourism spending by $200 million per year, and generate $5.6 million in new state tax revenues and $4.7 million in new local tax revenues annually.
The study also indicates that a person attending a conference spends an average of $333.00 per day. The revenue generated by conventions is similar to that generated by tourism, with very little impact on the infrastructure, and a lot of dollars flowing into the regional economy.
Today, a funding plan for the proposed hotel goes before the Metro Council. The regional government has pledged $10 million of the estimated $197.5 million needed to build the hotel through reserves, loans and lottery funds. Because of this, there is scrutiny from watchdog groups. The opposition seems to be most worried about the taxpayer burden, because if the cost projections are not accurate, the public would be on the hook. But if $197.5 million seems expensive for a 600-room hotel, the projections indicate this would be beneficial for Portland’s economy and workforce. The hotel, for example, would abide by the rules of FOTA, the First Opportunity Target Area, an employment recruitment policy that offers job opportunities to those “living in and around the facility."
Of course, if the numbers pencil out, why not simply put the hotel project out to bid? We don’t have to look far for a case study, as Spokane is breaking ground on a hotel funded by private developers next to their convention center.
I believe having a headquarters hotel for the convention center is good for the city and the state. Holding the USITT convention in Portland certainly would have been beneficial for my company.
Kevin Shetterly is the sales manager for Stagecraft Industries.
Oregon Business accepts op-ed on topics relevant to the state’s business community. See op-ed submission guidelines here.
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.
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The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.
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Pushing the extreme.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN
Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.
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