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Build and they will come

by: COURTESY OF ZIMMER GUNSUL FRASCA PARTNERSHIP, A development team came up with this vision for a headquarters hotel near the Oregon Convention Center. Debate continues over the plan for the possible hotel and its funding.

The debate on building a headquarters hotel is based directly on the comments and input from people in the business of conventions and trade shows (HQ hotel idea's up for more debate, Aug. 10).

The few national shows that have come to the Oregon Convention Center make the same comment at every show: 'Portland is a beautiful city, and this is a great facility. We love coming here. If only you had a large central hotel … '

Businesspeople come to trade shows to make money and make contacts in their field. Most of the money and contacts come from before- and after-show casual meetings. A headquarters hotel provides this opportunity.

It's true: If you build it, they will come. Show managers love Portland and the surrounding area. A headquarters hotel will make it profitable for them to bring their shows here. And when the shows come to town, the money will follow.

Paul E. Richter

Vancouver, Wash.

Via Web

All will benefit from headquarters hotel

Phil Stanford believes that a Convention Center headquarters hotel is primarily a boondoggle to benefit Lloyd District property owners (Here's the real story on that new hotel, Aug. 17).

He's correct that the expansion of the convention center didn't bring about the expected growth in business, but he's also dismissing the argument that the lack of convenient and plentiful rooms nearby also is a significant factor.

As a professional convention manager, I can tell Stanford from experience that convention attendees don't like to walk too far from a convention center to their hotel.

Conventions usually start early and end late. Hotels closest to the convention center always fill first, even if they're more expensive - especially if they have a connecting walkway.

And when the Portland Oregon Visitors Association makes the case that we're losing business to other cities, they're talking about big business, 10,000-attendee conventions (or larger) that are going elsewhere.

The economic impact of that many people renting rooms and cars, eating out, buying gifts, etc., should not be underestimated - not to mention that conventiongoers often extend their stay in an interesting city, combining business with pleasure.

If POVA and the headquarters hotel boosters are correct, the only way to capture this business and maximize the economic productivity of the convention center is to build enough rooms nearby. All the hotels in town would benefit from the overflow.

And if current hotel owners are worried about losing business, there's nothing stopping them from making the investment themselves.

Without the new hotel, we don't get that business at all. Fifty percent of nothing is still nothing.

Mark A. Santillo

North Portland

Police accountability is essential for city

Local police accountability activists are not out to get the cops (Police review gets own review, Aug. 14).

We're making sure that those who violate internal police bureau policies or our civil and constitutional rights are held accountable for their actions.

There's room for improvement in policing - whether it's eliminating the practice of racial profiling, reducing excessive force cases, thoroughly investigating sexual assault and rape cases and/or improving treatment of the mentally ill.

An oversight system independent of the police is necessary to prevent future cases of police misconduct and to create policies in line with community standards.

Mayor Tom Potter's vision of 'community policing' will only be possible when the community has the tools necessary to hold officers accountable, and when the system is truly impartial and effective, responding to the needs of the police and the community.

Alejandro Queral

Executive director, Northwest Constitutional Rights Center

Via Web