Metro today launched an open process calling for public input and creative ideas to shape the future development of the Portland Expo Center.
The Portland Expo Center Development Opportunities Study will assess potential options for the future of the Expo Center that are economically sound and can provide maximum benefit to the region. While this project is underway, there will be no immediate changes to the exhibition center or its schedule of upcoming events.
“The Expo has served as a community event center for a century, but it has significant capital needs and no source of long-term funding to pay for them. This process aims to solve this problem,” said Karis Stoudamire-Phillips, President of the Metropolitan Exhibition Recreation Commission (MERC) which oversees the Expo Center. “By understanding the community’s aspirations for the site, learning its market value, and seeing viable options for its future, MERC and Metro can better decide how to complement, support, and repurpose spaces to improve site operations and vitality. economy continues.”
The Portland Expo Center is a popular tourist destination that attracts nearly 500,000 visitors annually to more than 100 public trade shows and community events, bringing an economic impact of more than $47 million annually. However, significant capital investment is required due to the age of the original showrooms, which celebrated their centenary this year. To address this need, Metro has met with area tribes, businesses and community groups, including representatives from the Black, Japanese American and urban Native communities, over the past two years to outline how the future of the ‘Expo Center can serve people better. of the Portland area in the years to come.
Metro seeks to understand, through a public survey, what matters most to area residents and how Expo Center could be part of the solution to address their top regional priorities. The survey is now online at www.expofuture.org. The new website includes detailed site and facility information, as well as a video on the project which features several members of the community.
Metro invites regional teams interested in public-private partnerships to submit their ideas for the future of the Expo Center through a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) – a joint process to seek development concepts principles-based and creative for public enterprises. sites. Submissions will be reviewed against project guidelines developed by the community, which include:
- Honor the historical and cultural heritage of the site
- Ensure financial sustainability
- Maximize economic prosperity
- Create opportunities for financial and community wealth creation, especially for Black, Japanese American, Urban Indigenous, and other communities of color.
- Recognize, respect and restore the richness and interdependence of the environment, land, water and people.
The historic Vanport flooding near the Exposition Center and the incarceration of Japanese Americans at the Exposition Center during World War II had lasting impacts on communities in the area. It remains important for Metro to honor these important historical and cultural ties that many communities have with the Expo site.
“This project is an opportunity for our generation to honor the legacy of those who came before us while creating something that will have an immediate impact for this generation and those to come,” said Lynn Peterson, President of the Metro Council. “I look forward to seeing the creative ideas for Expo that will come through this flexible and unique development process.”
Feedback and involvement from residents and community organizations will help Metro Council and MERC determine how future use of Expo Center can best benefit the region.
To learn more about the project and get involved, go to expofuture.org.