For a decade or so, now (about as long as TriMet has been pushing for a light rail line into downtown Vancouver), Metro's been yammering about a grand Convention Center hotel. First they told us we needed a Convention Center because economic development. So we let them sell the bonds and build the thing. As is usual with the only regional government of its kind in the country, Metro's OCC lost money.
Naturally, they told us that we just needed to double its size, and then economic development. We turned them down. They did it anyway. OCC has lost an average of $10 million a year since then. And predictably, after the first year of losses, they decided that a CC hotel would turn things around, float all boats, yadda yadda.
We've told them no. They're trying to do it anyway.
Metro has advanced a proposal for a 600-room Hyatt Regency hotel built by Mortenson Development of Minneapolis. The project would be funded with $18 million in local and state loans and grants, plus about $60 million in bonds issued by Metro. The bonds would be paid off with lodging taxes collected at local hotels, including the convention center hotel.
Former Porkland mayor Sam Adams, now heading Porkland City Club, supports the hotel (unsurprisingly), and scuttled a debate that was set to occur on the subject. But now that they've found a ex-spurt who favors such projects, he's decided to let a debate proceed. It's next Friday.
Gosh, it'd be nice if some kind would would put Sam out of our misery once and for all.