Metro Council and MERC Commission held a joint session
to discuss setting priorities for the study
Stakeholder engagement: Values and history
December 2019 / January 2020
Site, venue and market assessment
February / March 2020
Stakeholder engagement: Scenarios
May / June 2020
Report to stakeholders: Development options
July / August 2020
In depth analysis of preferred scenarios
September / October 2020
Potential futures open house
At the request of Metro Council, the Portland Expo Center development opportunity study will assess the value and opportunities for the greatest public benefit of the 53-acre property and venue.
The desired outcome of the study is the development of a framework that outlines the potential futures of Expo and the impacts of each option.
The center also has significant capital needs and no identified funding source to meet these needs over time. This study will identify development options that could complement, support or replace the current event center's operations.
Throughout the process, Metro will engage with stakeholders including communities with historic ties and business interests.
Each future scenario will be evaluated based on Metro’s six desired outcomes of vibrant communities, economic competitiveness and prosperity; safe and reliable transportation; climate change; clean air, clean water, and healthy ecosystems and equity – as well as community driven values.
Portland’s gathering place
The Portland Expo Center attracts nearly 500,000 visitors to 100+ public tradeshows and community events like home and garden, automotive, RV, antique, outdoor shows and concerts, generating $54 million in economic impact. The center has 330,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space in five exhibit halls on the 53-acre campus. The Portland Expo Center is committed to sustainability with the largest stormwater green wall in the country, treating 10,000+ cubic feet of runoff. The Hall D and E roof restoration project saved tons of material from being sent to a landfill and replacing parking lot lighting with LEDs reduced electricity usage significantly.
The Portland Expo Center has a million dollar annual debt service payment which will be retired and paid in full by 2025.
Historical and cultural significance
The Expo Center has a diverse and important history including cultural significance to the African American and Japanese American communities in connection with the Vanport Floods and WWII Internment at the Portland Assembly Center. Metro and the Portland Expo Center recognize the past events and injustices that took place on or near the Portland Expo Center. Expo works with Vanport Mosaic and the Nikkei Legacy Center to ensure these occurrences are never forgotten. Each year, commemorations are held on Memorial Day weekend for the African American and Japanese communities impacted by these events.
How will the project engage stakeholders?
With a guiding principle of transparency, stakeholder feedback will be compiled and shared with all who engage in the process.
Throughout the process, project consultants will engage with specific stakeholders including communities with a historic tie to the site, such as the African American community and the Japanese American community. Expo clients and business stakeholders will also be engaged. This early input will help shape the guiding principles of the project and the future scenarios that are evaluated.
At the second formal engagements, stakeholders will be presented key findings from the site, venue, and market assessments, and be provided a preview of up to 12 development options and screening criteria. The goal of the workshop is to provide an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of the site, and get feedback on the screening criteria to ensure the development options are evaluated in alignment with the values and goals of community leaders and stakeholders. Following this stakeholder input, Cascadia Partners will do additional feasibility on a select group of options in a final report, estimated for completion by October 2020.
Each future scenario will be evaluated based on Metro’s six desired outcomes of vibrant communities; economic competitiveness and prosperity; safe and reliable transportation; climate change; clean air, clean water; and healthy ecosystems and equity – as well as community driven values.
What we heard: history and values workshop results
Draft Guiding Principles
In January, Metro and our consultant, Cascadia Partners, convened an Expo Development Opportunity Study history and values workshop as well as a business and client workshop. At this workshop, stakeholders participated in a group exercise that clustered collective ideas for guiding principles into common themes. As a group, participants named the common themes into draft guiding principles. The summary document below illustrates the five principles that arose from the values workshop which align with Metro Council principles including: community engagement, greatest public benefit, economic development, honoring the history and culture, and racial equity. A core central vision for the Expo Center emerged as well to include: sustainable choices, humanity united with business interest, vision, emotional history, and identifying complementary uses. The draft guiding principles will continue to evolve with more information and discussions with stakeholders.
Clients and business partners also gathered at the Portland Expo Center to provide rich and important information about their events and the patrons that they serve. This feedback will help establish the principles by which development options could complement, support or replace the current event center. Cascadia Partners utilized Mentimeter for real-time aggregation and ranking of the importance of an indoor event space, parking, price, location, access to freeway and public transit, and more. Participants shared the nature of their businesses, changing dynamics and demographics, and emphasized the importance of a face-to-face opportunity for consumers to meet with vendors, and explore their products, services and wares.