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Portland Council Votes To Back Convention Center Hotel

Portland City Council voted Wednesday evening to back plans for a proposed hotel next to the Oregon Convention Center.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Hyatt at the Oregon Convention Center.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Hyatt at the Oregon Convention Center.

Courtesy Metro

Unions and businesses testified at City Hall in favor of helping build a new Hyatt Hotel.

Kimo Bertram with Hyatt said it will help the under-used convention center.

“Our experience with the development of the Hyatt Regency in Denver, which similarly lacked a headquarters hotel, gives us confidence there will be a significant increase in the attendance of conventions at the Oregon Convention Center upon the completion of this proposed hotel,” Bertram said.

Critics question a $60 million government bond for the project. The new hotel’s lodging taxes would pay it back.

But Tim Ramos with the downtown hotels said the subsidies amount to a 40-percent discount.

“That discount is covered by the public, who are responsible for the bond payments, and in effect, stand as the guarantor of the performance projections provided by Hyatt - even though those projections are secret,” Ramos said.

The vote included a council request for financial information for two years of operation.

Commissioner Steve Novick voted no.

Metro has already approved the plan. It goes before Multnomah County on Thursday.