Convention center hotel asks for public cash

Convention center hotel asks for public cash

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by Kyle Iboshi, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 10:46 AM

PORTLAND --Portland's skyline could soon include a new hotel. Supporters of a new 600-room Hyatt Hotel next to the Oregon Convention Center made their pitch for public investment to the Portland City Council Wednesday.

Under a plan backed by Metro, private dollars would fund most of the proposed $200 million Hyatt Regency at the Oregon Convention Center. But about one-third of the project would come from taxpayer subsidizes. An existing county lodging tax would be used to pay off public bonds for the project.

Metro President Tom Hughes, a champion of the project, told city council the project would jump-start the economy.

"Right out of the shoot, we create 2,000 construction jobs,” Hughes said. “Those are temporary jobs, but they are good jobs and they are jobs at a time when we need more good construction jobs in the area."

Supporters said the 600-room hotel will help boost convention business, tourism and revitalize the area. They maintain that Portland can’t compete for large convention business without a hotel that can book 500 rooms all at once.

Metro has supported the project so far, but Portland and the county commission also have to sign off. They all share in the hotel taxes that would be used to help finance the project.

Critics question the viability and value of a subsidized project. They also worry it puts other downtown hotels at a disadvantage.

Wednesday’s testimony was all about listening. The city and county are expected to take up a vote next week.

 

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