Stop 07

Stop 7: Oregon & Grand

The Oregon Convention Center, with its twin spire towers, is straight ahead at this stop. You’ll have to walk across busy Martin Luther King Bvd, here. There’s another stop across the street.

The Oregon Convention Center is the largest in Oregon at nearly 1,000,000 square feet, with 255,000 square feet of exhibit space.

The original building opened in 1990 and was expanded in 2003.

Construction on a 30,000-square-foot, full-block “outdoor plaza” facility for convention-related activities started in 2011 across the street from the center, right by this stop. The plaza, known as the Oregon Convention Center Plaza, opened in January 2012.

The new outdoor park may actually be a space holder for the planned convention hotel. Metro and PDC gave the green light this September. Officials hope to lure more national conventions and trade shows to the Oregon Convention Center.

Metro restarted the dormant hotel talks earlier this year. Two teams answered the RFP, the Hyatt team led by Mortenson Development and a second team led by Langley Investment Properties that offered a Sheraton-flagged proposal.

Metro, the regional government, owns and manages the Oregon Convention Center, the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and the Portland Expo Center in North Portland, through the Metro Exposition-Recreation Commission.

The plan is to develop a 500 room headquarters hotel. Metro says the planned convention center hotel is intended to create enough spillover demand for rooms so that other hotels would benefit too. An economic study is in the works and will be finished before negotiations with the hotel developers wrap up.

Travel Portland says the Convention Center’s eco-friendly policy has been a good business recruitment strategy.

Behind us on the right is the East West College, a professional school of massage and body work. Behind that is the Oregon State Office building.

To our left, at 736 MLK, is Anzen Hiroshi, is one of Portland’s best ethnic groceries, featuring a wide selection of Japanese imported goods, including fresh and prepared foods, cookware, videos, books and gifts. It’s been family owned since 1905.

NEXT: Stop #8, Multnomah & NE 7th