The historic Multnomah Greyhound Park played host to a farewell celebration Tuesday before its complete demolition early next month.
The ceremony, which drew over 100 attendees, was hosted by the site’s new owners: the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. The tribes bought the land that includes the greyhound racetrack in December of last year.
The city of Wood Village is collaborating with the Grand Ronde to decide the land’s future.
“There were several scenarios that were presented to the community, one of which was a hotel-entertainment venue focus, perhaps with some housing or some additional retail,” said Nancy Hamilton, the project’s media consultant. “That was the clear favorite in the room.”
The Grand Ronde tribes also own Spirit Mountain Casino, located about 30 miles west of Salem in Grand Ronde, Oregon.
Grand Ronde officials say the project will have some affiliation with the casino, but didn’t specify if its new Wood Village location would include any actual gambling.
“We hope we tie something in here that we can benefit Spirit Mountain with. You come here, you shop, you get points or something, or you go to Spirit Mountain and you can come here and get benefits,” said Grand Ronde Tribal Council member Reynold Leno. “That’s kind of the idea of what we want to do. We’re not going to kill our own casino.”
Overall, the Wood Village community has shown support for the tribes’ future usage of the derelict land.
“I know that this is just going to be something that’s going to benefit both city and tribe,” Wood Village Mayor Patricia Smith said. “The quality of this development on this site will really define Wood Village.”
The greyhound park has been vacant since 2004, but originally opened in 1957. It’s peak year of attendance was in 1987, when it attracted more than 611,000 people over the course of the year. As greyhound racing became less of a draw, the land fell into disrepair, however.
Wood Village resident and celebration attendee Eellitta Stone recalls frequently coming to the race track over the years.
Stone’s mother was a first aid nurse for the building across from the track in the 1980s and ‘90s, and treated people affiliated with the park frequently.
Stone said she’s nostalgic about the demolition of the building, but is excited for its potential future.
“I think this area needs a go-to place,” Stone said. “If they go ahead and do like they’re thinking about having — a hotel with water features and things that had been previously planned — I think that would be outstanding.”