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Oregon Convention Center OCC aerial with Portland

Oregon Convention Center hotel project

Places and activities    Art and business venues    Oregon Convention Center hotel project

Learn about Metro's convention center hotel project, intended to leverage private investment and development with minimal public resources, to enhance the region's tourism economy. Find important documents and timelines.

Project update

April 22, 2014

To prevent further lawsuits and costly delays, Metro filed a validation action with the courts. Learn more

Metro's Oregon Convention Center is an internationally-treasured regional asset that attracts tourists and out-of-town dollars into the state. Over 22 years, it has generated nearly 5 billion dollars in economic impact, inducing visitor spending in local businesses, creating and sustaining jobs and generating income and transient lodging (hotel or motel) tax revenues that fund a variety of important community services.


View a video of Metro's Andy Shaw explaining Metro's validation action filed April 22, 2014.

Project overview

In response to interest expressed by private sector hotel developers and needs outlined by OCC clients, the Metro Council directed staff to develop a hotel package for their potential consideration.

The goals of the convention center hotel are to:

  • create jobs and strengthen the regional economy
  • serve national convention clients, including organizers, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees, with a dedicated block of hotel rooms adjacent to the convention center to increase convenience and access before, during and after a convention
  • build upon the OCC's current base of national convention clients to capture those who currently choose other cities over Portland and cite the lack of an adjacent hotel as their primary reason
  • generate new demand for area hoteliers, which, in turn, boosts business for local restaurants, retailers, transportation services, recreational outfitters and many others
  • protect past investments in and ensure the long-term financial viability of the OCC.

How this hotel project is different from past projects?

Metro considered a very different convention center hotel project in 2007-09. The key difference between the two projects is that only a minimal amount of public investment is currently being proposed. Below is a list of other important differences:

2007-09 Headquarters Hotel2012-13 Convention Center HotelNet Benefit for General Public
Publicly financed, requiring greater investment of public resources and putting city general funds at risk if defaulted. Privately financed, requiring significantly less public investment. Private developer assumes bulk of risk if project defaults. Requires minimal public investment, and developer is incentivized to make hotel a success.
Publicly owned and privately operated, committing public resources to develop and construct, with increased liability.

Privately owned and operated; majority of construction and development costs provided up front by private sector.

Minimal risk placed upon public resources.
Size and scale equal to “headquarters hotel” definition, requiring certain thresholds of meeting and ballroom space which translates to higher development, construction and operating costs. Greater flexibility allowed in convention amenities allowing smaller or less meeting and ballroom space, if necessary, to keep development, construction and operating costs at a minimum. Lower overall project costs.
Cost of construction labor and materials at an all-time high. Construction labor and materials costs at pre-2009 levels. Lower overall project costs.
Interest rates and financing fees at an all-time high. Interest rates and financing fees at all-time lows; new tools available to assist with financing, including EB-5 program, etc. Lower overall project costs.
Weak outlook for national and local hotel and convention markets. Steady outlook for national convention market and strong local hotel industry. Funds invested today will generate strong returns for OCC and local businesses.
Political and project leadership fractured. Political and project leadership unified. Efficient RFP, development and decision-making processes.


OCC hotel proposed siteFuture vision for the convention center neighborhood

The convention center hotel will be located directly north of and across the street from the Oregon Convention Center in the Lloyd District neighborhood. A 500-room block is necessary to serve national convention clients, so the hotel is anticipated to contain at least 600 rooms.

Amenities will include a full-service restaurant and room service, meeting and banquet rooms, and guest parking. The building will be designed to a 3 star/diamond quality or higher, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver or higher certification and meet the City of Portland’s stringent green building standards.

Project timeline

April 2014: Metro filed a validation action requesting that the Multnomah County Circuit Court deem all legal actions and contracts valid.

March 2014: Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Eric Bloch ruled in favor of the Multnomah County Elections Division confirming its position that the county code amendments are not referable to the ballot.

December 2013: Multnomah County Board of Commissioners approved amendments to the county code to reflect the changes in the amended Visitor Development IGA.

October 2013: Metro Council approved the Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Portland and Multnomah County.

September 2013: Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners and Portland City Council approved the Visitor Development IGA. Both entities also approved a Memorandum of Understand that describes key priorities for Metro to consider in development negotiations. The MOU will be considered by Metro Council in early October.

August 2013: Metro Council unanimously approved the preliminary development agreement, also referred to as the “term sheet” and amendments to the Visitor Development IGA.

July 2013: Metro Council and Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission met in a joint work session to receive a project status update, consider proposed amendments to the Visitor Development Initiative IGA and discuss the draft proposed project term sheet. The Oregon Legislature also approved investing $10 million in state lottery funds in the project.

January 2013: Metro Council approved Resolution No. 13-4403 authorizing staff to pursue state lottery funds in support of the project.

December 2012: Metro Council and Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission (MERC) met in a joint work session to receive a project status update, consider potential construction financing tools and hear a presentation of an independent market impact study.

October 2012: Metro and PDC staff launched negotiations with Mortenson/Hyatt development team. Negotiations remain underway and are expected to continue into early 2013.

September 2012: Metro Council approved RFP Evaluation Committee and staff recommendations to proceed with negotiations with Mortenson/Hyatt development team, upon confirmation that a labor peace agreement is reached between Hyatt Hotels and UNITE HERE.

July and August 2012: RFP Evaluation Committee evaluated proposals and interviewed development teams, issuing a unanimous recommendation to begin negotiations with Mortenson Development/Hyatt Hotels team.

May 2012: A request for proposals was issued to private developers. Two development teams responded with interest.

April 2012: Principals of Metro, PDC, the city and county signed a statement of principles agreeing to the need for and approach to pursuing additional national conventions through a convention center hotel project.

January 2012: Metro Council directed staff to engage its partners at the City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and Multnomah County to gauge interest in a hotel project funded largely by the private sector.

Metro News updates

Related PDF documents

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Related documents

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Related Links

Art and business venues

Metro owns and operates the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Expo Center and operates Portland’5 Centers for the Arts.

Related Internet links

costs vs. benefits

Who pays and who benefits?  

Learn how the costs are covered and the value to the community. Download graphic

Hotel features

By the numbers

3.4 million

In FY 2013, 3.4 million people visited Metro's four visitor venues, generating nearly $2 million per day in spending throughout the region.

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