Readers Respond to Downtown Portland Hotels on the Brink of Foreclosure

“I’ve got no problems with the homeless people, or any of the other excuses being offered by the hotels. I just don’t want to spend $200 on an overpriced hotel room.”

Last week, WW broke the news that three downtown hotels—Dossier, the Duniway and the Portland Hilton—were on the brink of foreclosure (“Motel Blues,” Sept. 7). (Dossier’s owner, Provenance Hotels, now says it has reached a deal to avert its hotel from being auctioned by its lender.) That news is the cherry on top of a 26% commercial real estate vacancy rate in the downtown core. Readers were divided: Was this the inevitable result of lefty policies coddling protesters, campers and criminals? Or the comeuppance of an outdated hospitality industry that overbuilt and failed to adjust to competition? Here’s what readers had to say:

Mr. Logic, via wweek.com: “Ms. Peel has done some fine reporting here. I have been critical of many of her articles in the past. However, credit where credit is due.”

pdxarchitect, via Reddit: “I don’t know that city leaders are on the hook for the fact that hotels aren’t profitable at the moment, but if they aren’t paying their taxes, that’s a couple million dollars a year out of the city coffers.

“The warning to city leaders should be that this is the tip of the iceberg. If buildings go vacant all over downtown, the amount of tax collected by the city will drop off of a cliff.”

LMitten, via wweek.com: “If you haven’t seen the writing on the wall for the past year or so, I feel sorry for you. Just like shopping malls, office-dominated downtown cores are never coming back. But I wonder how much of the hotel industry’s trouble is based on the insane popularity of Airbnb, which I think proves beyond a doubt that the hotel model was outdated, irrespective of COVID and everything else.”

inure, via Reddit: “Companies should require their workers to return so hotel/office buildings don’t go bankrupt? That’s a hell of a take.”

whoops123, via wweek.com: “I’ve looked into staying at downtown hotels many times over the summer, and usually I eventually decide it’s not worth the $200+/night price tag to rent a room and instead drive back and forth from the coast. “If the hotels actually want to rent the rooms, make them less expensive. I stayed at the Waterfront Marriott last month and, despite using miles to pay for the room, still ended up paying $110 for fees, parking, and an $8 can of water in the lobby. They are creating their own problems and trying to con the city into giving them money.

“Why isn’t ‘supply and demand’ kicking in? I’ve got no problems with the homeless people, or any of the other excuses being offered by the hotels. I just don’t want to spend $200 on an overpriced hotel room.”

mobile_gas_9826, via Reddit: “These are three incredibly large hotels in downtown. The Hilton is a historic building. I am not going to shed a single tear for the owners, especially [former Provenance Hotels executive Gordon] Sondland, or groups losing money on this, but this is another bad sign for downtown and particularly food trucks. It’s tough down there, and the declining foot traffic has caused food trucks like mine to shift to mobile events only.”

Polis, via wweek.com:Willamette Week finally sees the problem. A watershed mark.”

HESITANT TO LEAVE HOTEL

Our son forwarded an article to us written by you in Willamette Week regarding the loss of business at the Benson Hotel in Portland [wweek.com, Sept. 1]. The article was very timely as my husband and I were in Portland last weekend and stayed at the Benson. I made the following comment that I have been all over the world and never hesitated to walk out of the front door of my hotel to go exploring until Portland!

It’s an absolute travesty what has happened to not only the downtown area of Portland, but outskirts as well. Homeless, crazy, drug-addicted people everywhere. As much as we love the beautiful Benson Hotel I informed them that on any future trips we would be investigating accommodations in more safe and clean areas.

Kit Dobbe

Laguna Niguel, Calif.

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