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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.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER
Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE | ART DIRECTOR
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
The media coverage about Pope Francis must have put me in a Biblical frame of mind. Because after touring the latest phase of the South Waterfront development, a mind boggling 1.5 million square feet of office and retail space that will spring up north of the aerial tram over the next few years, I couldn’t stop thinking about the massive project as a modern day creation story.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Alan Lehto, TriMet's director of policy & planning, shares a few thoughts on ride sharing and more nimble bus services.
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