by Rupert Huse
A couple of weekends ago was the annual convention for my industry at the Oregon Convention center. Although mine is an SOB (sexually oriented business) this convention has been held at the Oregon Convention Center for the past three or four years. As the largest vendor there, I have always been supportive of moving the convention to this size of venue. Lately I have been questioning that decision.
The City of Portland does not make things easy. The one hotel nearby does not have sufficient parking. This has never usually been much of a problem because, since the area is essentially a desert, finding street parking was never a problem. Not this year, the city had put in metering literally everywhere, making it impossible to park for the length of a convention. I asked the attendant at the convention center underground lot if I could park overnight there. Nope, not possible she said. I tried parking in a lot. All were auto attended and you could not park later than 6:00 AM the next morning.
This is about a little more than parking. This is about a city’s complete inability to see how their actions affect a convention center that is losing money. The same geniuses who can’t figure out that making parking impossible just might affect your convention center now want to go into the hotel business. Portland, having showed lousy business sense with the convention center now wants to double down and subsidize a hotel in the area.
The last day of the convention we had to load out so I parked under the center that day. When pulling out around 6:00 PM Sunday I paid the automatic toll gate in the parking garage. Only in a city run business could you have a parking lot with an automatic gate, have an attendant sitting there for no purpose, and insist it was impossible for anyone to park overnight .
I don’t know what kind of hotel these idiots will subsidize in the area but I am sure of one thing. That hotel will have fantastic parking if you ride a bike. If you can get your display to the convention in a bike trailer you are in for a real treat. If you actually want to conduct business at a real convention center, consider a city that has their act a little more together on this kind of thing.