Despite frosty weather, annual auto show sees friendly crowds

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO BY CHRIS ONSTOTT - James Ryan gives his daughter Elie, 3, a driving lesson at the simulator at the Toyota exhibit.Just about everything went right with the 2014 Portland International Auto Show, except for the unexpected winter storm that shut down the city and cut into the attendance.

“The 2014 show will certainly be one to remember,” says Greg Remensperger, executive vice president of the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association and the show. “We had some great cars and some great exhibits, and the people who did attend were treated to what was arguably the best show we have ever presented.”

Organizers moved the show from its traditional schedule in late January to early February to round up more new models. They succeeded, with such recently introduced vehicles as the all-new Dodge 200, redesigned Ford Mustang, and the re-engineered Ford F-150 pickup making appearances.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO BY CHRIS ONSTOTT - The redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang was one of the newest car at the Auto Show.The extra week also allowed for more ticket sales to the Sneak Peek Charity Party held the Wednesday evening before the show opened. Many more people attended the second annual gathering, which benefited Boys & Girls Clubs, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Meals on Wheels People, and the Providence Portland Medical Foundation.

And people flocked to the show at the Oregon Convention Center at various times between Thursday, Feb. 6, and Sunday, Feb. 9. For many of them, it was a good excuse to get out of the house after being snowbound for a few days.

But by Saturday, state and city officials were repeatedly telling everyone to stay home. And when MAX service became unreliable and temporarily stopped, the major alternative form of transportation to the show was no longer much of an alternative.

If Remensperger was discouraged by the turn of events, he’s not showing it, however.

“We’ll be back again next year even stronger,” he says.

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