Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We need something to attract people to our attractive attraction, which isn't all that attractive enough, evidently, all by itself . . .

I read in a recent Portland Mercury that some of our city rulers are considering, once again, building a hotel in or near the Rose Quarter. I don't know how believable or serious this is or if the local politicians thinking about this are officials of the city, or the county, or metro. Or all of them; they're pretty much in cahoots anyhow.

The idea is to attract more action to the Convention Center. Of course, the politicos who like this idea plan to be using our money, whether or not we think it's a dumb idea. Used to be, if a bunch of people agreed that constructing a building would be a good idea, they themselves would invest in it, to earn the benefits of their investment. Or not. Just as they pleased.

If they asked me, I'd say if you guys have extra money of ours to build a hotel I'd just as soon you use it to repair local roads. We are about at the point where many of the roads are more suited to ox carts and burros, than to cars. Even if the cars are hybrids. Roads deteriorate with use, and you can't patch up deteriorating roads by simply painting bicycle lane stripes and green boxes on the roads, or erecting signs announcing that Oregon is being put back to work.

When government wants to do a project, it isn't as if we citizens have much say in it. If they decide to go ahead, there's no way for the "non-interested" investers to pass on that particular investment so as to save their capital for the next idea that percolates up. Oh, we can vote for somebody else next time, but meanwhile we are still invested in whatever it was. Like light rail. Whose bright idea was it, anyhow, to use a 19th century response to transportation problems, applying 20th century technology, to meet the needs of the 21st. century? Doesn't matter; we've got us some light rail and are going to get more.

And as for the proposed Rose Quarter hotel, it doesn't matter what independent investors might decide. To politicans, a hotel in this area would be -- an Attraction. An Attraction can be named after a local dignitary and can provide income opportunities for cronies. And since the Attraction would bring outsiders into the city and they would leave some of their money behind, benefitting us all, it should be okay with us. Right?

Hey, waitaminit. Wasn't the Convention Center, itself, supposed to be an Attraction to bring action to the city? What does it say about our civic investments when you have to build another Attraction to attract people to your Attraction? Oh, and notice that the first Attraction is nicely located next to a light rail stop so that people can easily come to the Attraction from wherever they might be, without being required to seek out lodging close by.


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