The last race has been run at Portland Meadows.
The 73-year-old horse-racing track and sometime concert venue is closing to make way for what's described in city records as an "urban logistics facility." According to Portland Monthly, which first reported the news today, the racetrack confirmed that the 2018-19 season, which wrapped up in February, would be its last. No further comment was offered.
Portland Meadows opened in 1946, hosting horse racing and off-track betting. It was the first race track in the country to hold night races, and in the '70s would regularly attract 6,000 spectators for Sunday races. During its seven-decade run, several big-name music acts also performed there, including the Grateful Dead, Metallica and Nirvana.
But as the national popularity of horse racing dwindled, the track struggled to stay open.
By the late 2000s, top attendance had dwindled to the low triple digits. The Canadian company that owned the track went bankrupt, and began trying to sell the property in 2007.
In 2013, the venue launched a rebranding campaign aimed to attract a younger crowd with ads featuring Rockwell-inspired artwork and holding craft beer festivals on the raceway. Beginning in 2016, live music returned to the track, with appearances from hard-rock relics Bad Company and the touring Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival. It also served as the backdrop for the film Lean on Pete, an adaptation of the novel by Portland writer and musician Willy Vlautin.
But in 2017, Portland Meadows temporarily lost its video lottery license for operating illegal poker rooms. And in August 2018, the Portland Business Journal reported that the Mackenzie architecture firm had submitted plans to redevelop the property for industrial use.
According to Portland Monthly, the permit application for that redevelopment was filed March 20. Specific plans for the site are unclear, but the track could be replaced by "large-scale shipping and warehouse facilities," the magazine reported.