Glendoveer meeting attracts skeptical crowd
Metro forming new contract, different operating agreement
Metro will change its business model for Glendoveer Golf Course, the 242-acre property that has been a source of contention between the regional government and East County residents who use it.
Shirley Craddick, Metro councilor who represents East County, said the regional government will be a more involved owner.
Rather than a leasee/leasor relationship, Metro will create a concession agreement, in which the contractor pays a fee to operate at Glendoveer and maintains the property, and Metro will be an active property owner, monitoring maintenance and investing in capital projects, said Lydia Neill, project manager.
During a standing-room-only public meeting Thursday, March 8, in Glendoveer's pro shop, a man asked how much money Metro invested in the facility since it took over the property from Multnomah County 17 years ago.
'Metro has not put money into (Glendoveer),' said Paul Slyman, director of Metro Parks and Environmental Services, adding he was embarrassed to admit it. 'But,' he said, 'that's because we had a leasee.'
Leasee responsibilities caused confusion at the meeting: Residents questioned why Metro hadn't maintained the facility for paying customers, and officials explained repeatedly that the leasee - who was present - is supposed to care for the grounds, including capital improvement projects.
Glisan Street Recreation has leased the facility for more than 30 years; their 10-year contract ends this December. Currently the company takes 56 percent of green fees and 100 percent of the other revenue, and Metro takes 44 percent of green fees.
On the way out the door, many residents grumbled that the leasee reasoning was just an excuse.
But Metro views it as the fundamental problem.
'We'll have more control over maintenance and improvements - more consistent maintenance of the facility and more improvements over time,' Neill said.
The new contract would be for three to five years rather than the decades-long leases held by Glisan Street Recreation.
Residents at the meeting filed a slew of complaints - from the leaky roof on the tennis courts to problems with the fourth hole on the west side of the golf course - and doubts regarding Metro's ability to run the facility.
One man questioned whether a company would invest in improvements if it was only assured three to five years of revenue.
Metro officials said the ultimate contract winner would have the option for renewal, and further, in a concession agreement, Metro would be responsible for the big-ticket items, such as replacing a 90-year-old leaky water tower or fixing the leaky roof on the tennis courts.
'Improvements aren't so dollar-focused; it'll be a performance issue,' Neill said. 'We're not asking the operator to come on the property and spend millions on improvements.'
Glendoveer project timeline
In December, Metro backed off its plan for Glendoveer Golf Course to eliminate nine golf holes and turn indoor tennis courts into golf cart parking - steps it hoped would boost revenue - after a community outcry that brought hundreds of people to public meetings.
Instead, Metro will change the way it operates Glendoveer, taking a more active role in maintenance and keeping the operating contract short.
• Now: Write a request for proposal that outlines the requirements of a new operator.
• Spring: Take public comments from public meetings and opt-in surveys to assess the proposal.
• Summer: Form a citizen review committee and advertise the operator contract.
• Fall: Review bids and negotiate a new contract.
• January 2013: Meet the new operator at a public open house.