Multnomah County commissioner says her board poised to approve hotel plan
An agreement to help pay for construction of a Hyatt hotel near the Oregon Convention Center is apparently one step closer to approval, with the Multnomah County Commission poised to OK the deal.
Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith said Wednesday that there are at least three votes on the Multnomah County Commission to approve agreements between Metro, Portland and the county for funding of the long-sought hotel project.
Wednesday's announcement came at a meeting of the Metro Policy Advisory Committee, after Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey asked how that group of regional leaders could support the hotel effort.
"We have enough votes to pass an IGA," as well as another agreement, a memorandum of understanding, Smith said, steering Willey towards the Portland City Council's Sept. 18 meeting.
But, Smith said, those votes are based on the plan unanimously passed by the Metro Council on Aug. 15. The Portland City Council could try to amend the plans.
Metro leaders are hoping the agreements, referred to as an IGA and an MOU, will lead to changes to a visitor development fund jointly operated by the city, county and Metro. One of the changes in that plan would allow for room tax revenue collected at the proposed $198 million Hyatt to repay about $60 million in bonds issued to pay for construction.
After the MPAC meeting, Smith said the county is unlikely to seek significant changes to the agreements, but will wait to vote on the agreements until after the Portland City Council's action.
"The concern is the city council wants to add amendments to Metro's approved IGA. That's where the snag is," Smith said. "We're not going to go forward until we figure out what the changes are from the city. It doesn't make sense for us to do one thing, and they do something else, and you all have something else here at Metro. We have to have an IGA that is identical."
Note: An earlier version of this story only referenced one of the agreements between the governments, and left out references to the Memorandum of Understanding. This version has been corrected to include references to the MOU.
Hotel debate centers around Portland's future as a convention destination (Sept. 6, 2013)
Analysis: Hyatt would need to earn $56,500 off rooms nightly to meet first-year bond obligations (Aug. 26, 2013)
Metro Council unanimously OKs Hyatt finance concept (Aug. 15, 2013)