Portland is interested in seeing how, and if, the city could make more money, create more jobs and draw more visitors to a trio of publicly owned facilities in North Portland.

Portland parks and recreation officials want to study how Delta Park, Portland International Raceway and Heron Lakes Golf Course could benefit from “enhancements” and new amenities in the future.

The City Council will vote Wednesday to approve a $48,000 contract with EcoNorthwest to study the overall economic impact of the entire Delta Park Sports Complex, Portland’s formal name for the three facilities.

According to city documents, the consultant will analyze how adding new facilities and services on the property— such as indoor concessions, a hotel, parking garage and other amenities at PIR —might affect the surrounding economic landscape.

EcoNorthwest will conduct surveys to determine “spillover spending,” meaning money visitors currently spend on nearby hotels, restaurants and other services. One focus of the study is “how much spillover spending Portland loses to Clark County.”

Portland owns and operates 7 softball fields, 9 soccer fields at East Delta Park. Four of the soccer fields have lights and artificial turf and are used by the Portland Timbers development squad. The site also has a concessions building.

“The use of these facilities only going to grow,” said Jennifer Yocom, parks community relations manager. Yocom said the city is interested in studying the economic realities and market situation surrounding those facilities.

She said Portland is strictly in the information-gathering phase, but the report could help direct future investment or actions. “When you’re running these revenue generating sites you really have to understand the market,” Yocom said.

The trio of public facilities were all added in recent decades, following the devastating flood that wiped out Vanport, Oregon’s second-largest city at that time, in 1948.

“These facilities produce substantial economic impacts for nearby hotels and businesses,” city documents said. “However they could support additional spending and jobs in Portland with further investment in capacity enhancing projects and improved visitor amenities.”

The 268-acre PIR site is due for an updated master plan. According to a draft document released in March, the city isn’t interested in adding more motor sports related events — in fact, documents indicate the city is interested in continuing to “look for alternative events that generate less noise. PIR has become a popular location for walks, runs and other events in recent years.

PIR, while owned by the city, doesn’t receive general fund dollars. In recent years, revenue ranged from $1.4 million to $1.7 million, according to Yocom. PIR has 450 event days each year, generating 300,000 visitors annually.

The ordinance Wednesday is an emergency, meaning the City Council members in attendance must approve it unanimously.

— Andrew Theen

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