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New manager: Bring the kids to the dogs

Greyhound park pitches racing as quality family entertainment

Times have been better at Multnomah Greyhound Park, but new General Manager Jeff Grady sees big possibilities.

'I look at the facility and the history of support for greyhound racing, and that's what convinced me to move,' says Grady, who previously was in charge of off-track betting at Philadelphia Park, a horse track. 'I see this area as having great potential.'

Grady, 39, was hired earlier this year as GM at both Multnomah Greyhound Park and Portland Meadows.

Greyhound racing begins tonight and runs through Oct. 11.

Societal trends and an influx of gaming alternatives, from the Oregon Lottery to casinos on Native American reservations to the Internet, have cut the greyhound park's average attendance to about 2,000.

Grady says a family atmosphere is the key to bringing in more people and more revenue. The park's grounds are maintained at a standard similar to Disneyland's.

'We have a very clean facility. That's a key to bringing in families,' Grady says. 'There's outdoor seating, you can view the dogs and visit them in the adoption area, and there's a certain amount of pageantry that goes into the races. There's things here for families to have a good time with.

'Bringing families back to racing is our goal here. It's the goal of every track in the country, too.'

Grady says the park will have dachshund racing this summer. Dachshunds do not race for money.

Magna Entertainment owns Multnomah, Portland Meadows and numerous racetracks across the nation. As for Portland Meadows, Grady will say only that racing will return next year.

Likely to eventually make its way to both tracks is Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel game that mimics the excitement of slot machines or video poker.

Grady also says that with or without Instant Racing, his primary job is to get people interested in driving to Fairview to enjoy the scenery and the greyhounds.

And, he supports bringing the Montreal Expos to Portland.

'I'm all for major league baseball coming here,' he says. 'Anything that's good for the economy helps us.'