Budget and maintenance key concerns for some at Glendoveer open house
NICK CHRISTENSEN / METRO NEWS
Glendoveer's pro shop was filled with people who wanted to know more about the future of Metro's golf course.
On a perfect March evening in East Portland's sylvan gem, about 70 people were told what they were hoping to hear – any changes at Glendoveer Golf Course will be for the better.
That message, presented early on by Metro staff at a Thursday open house about the course, helped soothe nerves frayed by rumors last summer about Glendoveer's future.
Still, many of the attendees who packed into the Glendoveer pro shop had questions about the way the course had been managed in the past – and the way it'll be managed in the future.
Metro is preparing to look for a contractor to run the course for the next three to five years; one company, Glisan Street Recreation, has held the operations contract for more than three decades. The contract was last renewed in 1999.
The main frustration from the audience was that Metro had done little to invest in Glendoveer in the 17 years since it was handed the course by Multnomah County. A 90-year-old water tower leaks, as do the roof and doors of the tennis center.
"As a landlord, those are things the landlord should be taking care of, not somebody coming in and bidding on operating the property for the next three to five years," said Ken Oliphant.
Paul Slyman, director of Metro's Parks and Environmental Services department, said he's requesting hundreds of thousands of dollars for upgrades to Glendoveer in the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.
He acknowledged that hasn't always been the case.
"Metro's financial investment in this facility is not something we're proud of," Slyman said. "We're going to do a better job."
Part of that is because of the nature of the contract with the operator. The current contract said Glisan Street Recreation, not Metro, was responsible for course and building maintenance; the operator invested more than $1 million in renovations at the start of the last operations contract.
Whether the next contract goes to Glisan Street Recreation or another company, Slyman said, the regional government will be a more active landlord.
"We're changing the contractual relationship so Metro is more involved," he said. That means Metro will make some of the bigger fixes – the water tower and irrigation system are at the top of the list, followed by clubhouse improvements and a cart barn to protect golf carts from the elements.
But Slyman said they want to wait until a new operator is selected before making some improvements, relying on the operator's expertise to decide what fixes to make to the facility.
"I don't want to say the tee box on the seventh hole needs to be fixed, if a professional comes in here and says 'You're crazy, that's not where I'd put my money,'" Slyman said.
That wasn't good enough for John Ramsey, who said Metro should fix the roof regardless of its contract with Glisan Street Recreation.
"Why does it take so long? It shouldn't take so long. It should be done this summer," Ramsey said. "Just get 'er done. It shouldn't cost a whole lot of money – a new operator is going to want it done. It's just like buying a used car – you're not going to want to put a whole bunch of money in it right off the bat."
The criticism over deferred maintenance was a far cry from the last open house, when hundreds of people came to vent frustration about rumors that Metro wanted to scrap part or all of the golf course. Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick bookended the meeting by saying that Glendoveer wouldn't be changing.
In her introduction: "We learned very quickly that you want this place to be the way it is right now." And, in response to the last question: "The Metro Council has given direction to the staff to keep the use of this facility the same. It will not change."
After the meeting, Craddick said she was impressed by the passion the residents of her district showed for Glendoveer.
"An interested public is what we need, and there definitely are a lot of interested people wanting the best for Glendoveer," she said.
The next step for Craddick, though, is securing funding in the Metro budget for the Glendoveer projects. The staff proposal for the 2012-13 budget should be released in the next few weeks; from that point, the Metro Council will have its say before final approval in June.
"I will be watching closely in the budget for what PES (the parks department) will be requesting for Glendoveer," she said. "We've got to weigh … the commitment to all of our facilities. I'm fully confident, as we begin to address some of these big-ticket items … that we're going to be working away at this project list."
As for the operations contract, Metro is organizing a citizens advisory committee to provide guidance on which operator the Metro Council should choose for the next contract.
"You'll review proposals," said Lydia Neill, the Glendoveer project manager, at the beginning of the open house. "We'll need you to be able to evaluate proposals, tell us what you like and what you don't like about them."
The new operations contract is planned to start in January.
Does Glendoveer need a touch-up or an overhaul? (June 10,
Council gets the bottom line: Golf likely to remain No. 1 at Glendoveer (July 19, 2011)
In the wake of tense open house, Metro Council discusses Glendoveer (Aug. 17, 2011)
Glendoveer to host open house; Metro commits to property's configuration (March 2, 2012)