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Plans for Convention Center Hotel -- a Project Eyed by
 Portland Politicians for 20 Years -- Are Officially Dead

By Ryan Frank, The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

September 18, 2009 - Plans for Convention Center Hotel -- a legacy project eyed by Portland politicians for 20 years -- are officially dead.

Mayor Sam Adams, Metro Council President David Bragdon and Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler said this afternoon that the 600-room hotel isn't feasible amid a crippling recession and a paralyzed credit market.

The three agencies had talked about spending $12 million for the hotel's architectural drawings. But the three leaders said a dramatic decline in hotel tax collections -- which were to fund those drawings -- forced them to cancel the project.

"We don't have enough money to go forward to the next phase," said Adams, who had been the project's chief supporter. "I'm absolutely supportive of the decision to stop. It would have been unwise to move forward at this time."

JOINT STATEMENT from Metro President David Bragdon, Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler

Today we have agreed that now is not the right time to move forward with predevelopment efforts to build a convention center headquarters hotel due to the current economic climate. Estimates we received this week of likely future revenues for the Visitor Development Initiative are not sufficient to support the project's predevelopment costs. The tourism and hospitality industries have been hit hard by the national economic recession.

The Portland metropolitan area remains an attractive tourist destination, an important economic center for the region and a vibrant hub of the arts and cultural activities. We acknowledge and are grateful for the efforts of many individuals who have worked hard on this project.

Job creation and economic development remain critical goals for our respective organizations and we will continue to work together in pursuit of those objectives. The current climate requires a focus on maintaining what we have and we will work with partners and stakeholders to develop new strategies for making the most of our existing facilities.

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To see more of The Oregonian, or to subscribe the newspaper, go to http://www.oregonian.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

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