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Will track event yield $568 million for economy?

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COURTESYB TRACKTOWN USA - Hayward Field will be the site of the 2021 IAAF track and field world championships. State officials say a public $45 million investment in the event would produce more than $550 million in economic activity.
Oregon lawmakers have a unique opportunity in 2016: If they spend just $45 million in public money on the 2021 world track and field championships planned in Eugene, they can get a $568 million return, in the form of increased economic output.

At least, that’s the case that the group TrackTown USA and other supporters of the proposal are making to state lawmakers and Gov. Kate Brown, according to public records released by the governor’s office.

The draft analysis, which TrackTown USA commissioned from the firm ECOnorthwest, relied on modeling of multiplier effects to arrive at that number. Economists projected direct spending such as construction, operations and hotel bookings would total $198 million, of which visitor spending would be approximately $51.9 million.

The $45 million request is large by Oregon standards. For example, it is more than the state allocated in 2015 for an affordable housing program for families with children who are at risk of homelessness ($40 million) and it equal roughly 13 percent of the $343 million funding plan the Legislature considered, but did not pass, in 2015 to tackle a backlog of highway, bridge, transit and other transportation projects.

The documents were released in response to a request from a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Since the BBC reported in early December that French investigators were looking into Oregon’s successful bid for the 2021 World Outdoor Championships, government officials involved with the plan face greater scrutiny.