Canzano: Time for Portland to act like a big-league sports city

May 23, 2015 - Picnic Time

Several years ago with Major League Baseball posturing as yet it competence move a Montreal Expos to Portland, we met with Mayor Tom Potter to feel out a city’s interest.

I brought dual round gloves. The devise was to play locate in one of a parks nearby City Hall, though Potter suggested we usually chuck a round around a bureau hallways. He stood during one finish of a prolonged hallway. we stood during a other.

What ensued told me all we indispensable to know. Potter bounced his throws off a carpet, off walls, gnawing during my lapse tosses as if he were throwing flies during a picnic.

Two throws and we satisfied Portland wasn’t removing baseball. The Mayor, a good adequate guy, looked like he’d never played catch.

There was new movement during City Hall this week where Mayor Charlie Hales over from normal Portland process and concluded to spend $1.9 million on a World Indoor Track and Field Championships. The eventuality will be hold in 2016 in a heart of a city in a 7,000-seat track erected inside a Oregon Convention Center. Hales sees a universe sports theatre as an eventuality to boost tourism and other new opportunities.

This isn’t usually a depart of Hales’ policy, though a change within city care over decades. Potter’s predecessor, Vera Katz, talked a lot about wanting to attract vital joining sports teams, though used nothing of her poke to get it done. Potter wasn’t meddlesome in what boosting Portland’s sports form could do for a city. And nobody was astounded when no city income was spent selling a new MLS All-Star Game.

In 1964, even with a support of Governor Mark Hatfield and Mayor Terry Schrunk taxpayers couldn’t see past a $25 million bond that would have resulted in bringing an NFL group to a Delta Dome. Maybe an Olympics, too. And so by a time Hales announced he’d like to piggyback on a universe championships by spending $500,000 on events during Pioneer Courthouse Square and another $300,000 earmarked for a promote selling that would code Portland to tourists in 160 countries, something felt new here.

Portland has prolonged been a city large on ideas though brief on follow through, quite if there’s a spirit of competition trustworthy to it. The outspoken minority has some-more poke in a place such as this than in reduction innovative American cities that simply occur to dream smaller though follow through. Nowhere else in a nation would a city have dual basketball arenas station on a same footprint (Moda Center and Memorial Coliseum) though not adequate hotel bedrooms to make possibly a actor for a inhabitant event.

Our emanate is one of culture. An anti-sports culture. And that contingency stop.

The twisting, sleepy tale that is a Convention Center Hotel devise looks like it will finally happen. This was a no-brainer devise that should have prolonged ago done Portland a vital actor for incomparable NCAA Tournament draws, All-Star Games and other sporting events. Only in Portland could that be stalled so effectively, and usually since a notice was that this was a sports expenditure.

It’s time Portland suspicion of itself as a bigger sports city. It’s time care some-more closely embraced a discernible tourism and business opportunities subsequent from an eventuality such as this. This isn’t a Olympic trials. This isn’t a U.S. indoor championship. this is a WORLD event, Vin Lannana’s brainchild, that places Portland in a bullseye.

It’s time for Portland to start behaving like it wants to matter. And I’m speedy that Hales sees a value of spending on some-more than usually increasing confidence and some-more trade patrols.

There’s a opinion designed Wednesday for on Hales’ altogether spending plan, including a $1.9 million he wants to spend on a universe championships. Final capitulation will be Jun 18. But

Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick voiced regard about a expenditures after a Mayor’s announcement. Naturally, they’re excellent with spending on confidence though don’t see a value of intensity gains Portland competence make in indeed selling itself to a world.

It feels a lot like 1964 thinking.


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