Stop 08

Stop 8: MLK & Hoyt

The Convention Center stop.

The Oregon Convention Center ( was designed by the architectural firm of Zimmer Gunsul Frasca which was also involved in designing the expansion.

Based in Portland, ZGF was listed in 2011 as the #4 architectural firm in the United States by Building Design+Construction and ranked the #9 architectural firm by Architect Magazine.

The Convention Center says it’s one of the greenest convention centers in the nation. It earned a Silver LEED Certification by installing low-flow plumbing fixtures, modified HVAC systems and using 40% renewable wind power. The Convention Center will seek LEED Gold certification in 2013 and has invested in a number of efficiency measures in recent years. Switching to a mix of induction, LED and compact fluorescent light is expected to decrease energy usage by half.

The “Rain Garden” on the southwestern corner of the building, sends water runoff from the 9- acre roof to a series of “swales”, with water basins and basalt spillways where native grasses and vegetation encourage natural infiltration.

The rain garden is said to save Convention Center about $15,000 a year on its storm water bill and reduces pollution of the Willamette River. Green leadership, say advocates, attracts a number of conventions to Portland.

Pacificwild Catering, OCC’s caterer, was created by its parent company, Aramark, to put greater emphasis on local, sustainable food systems on a large scale.

A Metro committee is reportedly leaning towards the Hyatt proposal for a new convention hotel.

The Mortenson group submitted four options ranging from $157 million to $200 million. They would be built on either Star Terra-owned property north of the OCC or the PDC-owned property east of it. Public investments ranging from $10.3 million to $36.1 million were requested for each option. In addition, the group requested that 11.5 percent of the 12.5 percent hotel/motel tax be invested in the project during a 30-year period.

Langley Investment Properties proposed two options on PDC property across from the OCC. Costs for the 587-room hotel were estimated at $175 million and a PDC/Metro loan of $8 million was requested.

Conference and trade show attendance at the convention center, though volatile, has largely trended down since peaking in 1999, reports the Oregonian. Measured in attendee days, convention attendance has fallen from 896,927 that year to 381,851 in 2011. In part, that reflects conventions planned in the depths of the recession.

In 2008, a Metro analysis concluded a new convention center hotel could bring eight to 10 additional national conventions to town, an estimated economic impact of $55 million a year.

We’ll continue down Martin Luther King Bvd until we get close to OMSI. Before it was MLK, the avenue was called Union.

Martin Luther King Jr. Worker Center at 240 NE MLK, is across the bridge, on the South side of I-5. The VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project is a worker-led organization that operates the day labor center which finds hundreds of workers a month jobs for local homeowners and small businesses. El Hispanic News says a report issued May 29 on Latinos in Oregon found that 1 in 5 native-born children in Oregon have at least one immigrant parent, and that Oregon had one of the top rates of growth for Latino-owned business creation in the country.

The 1907 dry cleaning business, pictured here, is long gone. The daughter of Owner Sam Carnes (pictured here) told Vintage Portland, “The equipment was primitive (no electricity). In about 1912 he purchased “modern equipment” including electric irons (before heated on a stove) and machinery run by electric motors.”

NEXT: STOP#9, MLK & Burnside