Details of what Nike pitched to Portland City Hall about its possible expansion to South Waterfront are emerging in the wake of today's announcement the shoe and apparel giant will expand instead near its world headquarters in Washington County.
WW has learned that, earlier this month, Nike lobbyist Julia Brim-Edwards visited city commissioner offices with Mayor Charlie Hales. Details of those meetings had been top secret until today. City officials say that Nike did not discuss numbers or incentives, but showed city officials artist renderings of a campus with office buildings integrated with the city’s own waterfront esplanade and a large public soccer field.
Mayor Charlie Hales says he thinks this was the one shot for Portland to strike a deal with Nike “anytime soon.”
“You fish,” he tells WW. “Sometimes you land the fish.”
Commissioner Nick Fish, however, believes this is not the last opportunity to land a Nike project in Portland.
“There’s going to be an opportunity to compete for Nike jobs in the future,” Fish says. “That’s not just conjecture. This is a third-inning setback in a nine-inning game.”
Still, Fish also expressed remorse for missing out on the multi-million dollar expansion.
“Potentially, it would have been a home run for the city,” he says. “I actually went so far as to write Phil Knight a personal letter because I think Nike would have been a game changer for Portland.”
Commissioner Dan Saltzman learned about Nike’s decision from WW.
“When I think of the good fit that Nike would have been for the South Waterfront and all the jobs, they seemed like a perfect fit,” Saltzman says. “I’m disappointed.”