Earlier today, the Oregon Senate moved our region closer toward job growth, increased tourism spending and a stronger economy.
I want to thank the Senate for its quick consideration of Senate Bill 927. The sooner we can break ground on a Hyatt hotel near the Oregon Convention Center, the closer we are to bringing even more big events to the Portland metro area and our state.
Hyatt is betting big on this project – they'll spend $134 million to build this hotel and get into the Portland market. The Metro Council has agreed to dedicate $60 million in tourism fund taxes – generated by visitor stays at this Hyatt – toward construction costs.
In exchange, Hyatt will hold 83 percent of its rooms off the market so we can attract large conventions. They'll build the hotel where we need it. They'll guarantee protections for workers’ right to organize. And they'll ensure the building will remain an upscale hotel for decades to come.
The hotel will generate 950 permanent jobs, attract as many as 10 new conventions a year to our region and increase tourism-related spending by $600 million a year.
Senate Bill 927 clarifies that Metro’s authority comes from its voter-approved charter. Two judges have already ruled that the Metro Charter gives the Metro Council the authority to issue revenue bonds and make other budget expenditure decisions. This bill will help put an end to perpetual obstruction caused by one well-heeled opponent of this project.
I am proud that the Portland Business Alliance, building trades, other hoteliers, even the Oregonian Editorial Board have endorsed this project. It's time for the lawsuits to end, and construction to begin. We have a great deal for Oregon's economy and the people of our region, and I’m excited to get this project off the ground.
Follow Metro Council President Tom Hughes on Twitter @TomHughesMetro