My View: Metro's regional venues attract visitors, produce millions in tax revenue
Metro visitor venues provide economic and social benefits to the region through Portland'5 Centers for the Arts, the Oregon Convention Center, Portland Expo Center and the Oregon Zoo. More than 3.5 million visitors attend the 1,445 events which translates to $878 million in spending, 8,470 jobs and $33.3 million in tax revenue.
Portland'5 Centers for the Arts develops culturally relevant programming to celebrate diversity and broadens access to the performing arts for people of all means, cultures, and ethnicities as well as provides access and engagement through educational programs to more than 13,000 Title-I school students in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties at no cost to the schools. Curriculums are provided in advance that deepen the value of the experiences with discussion topics ranging from the roots of jazz to the complex issue around race and unconscious biases. For most, it is their first time seeing a performance.
The Oregon Convention Center produces robust economic benefits with $626 million of total spending generated last year. Sustainability is part of the convention center's operational fabric. Last year, 9,800 goods were given to reuse organizations and more than 40,660 pounds of food donated to local nonprofits that address food scarcity.
With the Hyatt Regency Portland being built, the convention sales teams at Travel Portland has booked 10 of 18 proposals which translates to an increase of $27.6 million in visitor spending to the region. The Hyatt Regency Portland is estimated to generate $56 million in state taxes and $47 million in city and county taxes within its first 10 years of operations.
The Portland Expo Center hosts approximately 100 home and garden, automotive, RV, antiques, cannabis, and sportsmen shows. In 2017, the Portland Expo Center hosted new events like Blacklight Yoga by SoulPose and added self-promoted events to the calendar that benefited the community. The 60 acres, 330,000 square foot campus is ideal for Cirque de Soleil which requires large tented areas and its very own series, PDX Drive Inn Movie Spectacular. Many of Expo's consumer-public events have been serving the public for 50-plus years, including the Portland Auto Swap Meet and the Portland Home and Garden Show.
The Oregon Zoo continues to have the highest attendance of any ticketed attraction in the state, with more than 1.5 million visits. The Oregon Zoo's conservation and education efforts inspire a better future for wildlife. 19 endangered and 9 threatened species call the zoo home as natural habitats, wetlands and sagebrush areas diminish.
The Oregon Zoo has one of a small handful of specialized facilities where condors are bred and raised. In 1987, condors were extinct in the wild. By 2003, the Oregon Zoo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners embarked on the audacious project of returning condors to the skies after a century to the Columbia River.
Similar successes have occurred with the western pond turtle, Oregon spotted frog and pygmy rabbits. In 2002, only 16 pygmy rabbits remained in Washington. Now, the zoo is restoring the species in the Columbia Basin.