The Portland Metro Council received recommendations on February 28 about the future of the Portland Expo Center and plans to pivot the venue’s business model to focus and prioritize professional, amateur and recreational sports events as primary markets.
The Center’s sporting events could range from indoor track meets to team sports tournaments to individual sports performances, from amateur to professional to senior levels. The council also will take measures to recognize the Portland Expo Center as a site of national historic significance and memorialize the site’s history.
“When the Metro Council directed (Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission) and staff to find a new direction for Expo, we didn’t do this lightly,” said Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. “We knew that Expo was built on a 20th century business model and it wasn’t serving 21st century needs. I think these proposals from our COO give us a great foundation for further discussions at the council level about how to move forward with the Expo property in a way that supports jobs, makes the most of our existing assets, honors the history and the people of our region and grows our economy in a smart way.”
Metro will now conduct a market and feasibility study and a capital needs assessment to develop a capital investment plan. While that planning work takes place, the Expo Center will continue to operate as it has for the past several decades.
The Expo Future project began with a 2013 study of the Center’s future to determine ideas and partners for the future use of the 53-acre site in North Portland.