I've written several times already, over the last five years, about the quirky math that Metro uses to justify the proposed Oregon Convention Center headquarters hotel. I noticed another odd math fact in Metro's renewed flirtation with the idea.
This April 25 story from the Daily Journal of Commerce says that, according to Metro, in 2011 the conventions at the Convention Center produced $450 million in community spending in the Portland area. The same article says that, because the Convention Center has no headquarters hotel, it lost 30 conventions in 2011 that would have produced an additional $35 million in community spending.
Maybe I'm understanding this incorrectly (and if so I invite anyone from Metro to help me out here) but if those numbers are apples-to-apples, then by adding a headquarters hotel we could attract about an additional 8% in community spending to the Portland area. Put another way, without a headquarters hotel we're already getting 92% of the economic impact that we would get with one, according to Metro's figures.
I don't object to Metro selling its parcel of land to a hotel developer who wants to build a 600-room hotel without any public subsidy, but it seems a bit thick to allocate scarce tax dollars to subsidize a project that will result in only a small additional community benefit.