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Portland was chosen as the case study city to represent the Large category and is located in the western region of the U.S. This section presents the results of a case study of PSEs in the Portland metropolitan area.

In conducting the case study, an exhaustive search of national and local data was conducted to identify venues where large events might occur and also to search data by event type, such as professional and college football, basketball and other sports, to identify event generators in the case study area. This dual approach of compiling data by both venue and event type was designed to maximize the coverage of events.

Venues and Event Types

The following specially designed facilities in the Portland area with event days that attract crowds of more than 10,000 people were identified and contacted:

  • Rose Garden Arena – maximum capacity 20,500
  • Memorial Coliseum – maximum capacity 19,980
  • PGE Park (formerly Civic Stadium) – maximum capacity 19,000
  • Oregon Convention Center – maximum capacity 10,000
  • Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center – maximum capacity not available
  • Portland International Raceway – maximum capacity 86,000
  • Columbia Edgewater Country Club – maximum capacity not available

Other event-hosting facilities that were examined, but found not to host events with crowds larger than 10,000, include:

  • Portland Meadows (Horse Racing) – maximum capacity 4,450
  • Portland Center for the Performing Arts – maximum capacity 2,992
  • Portland State University's Peter W. Stott Center – maximum capacity 1,500

A map of some of these venues is provided in Exhibit 4-1. All of these venues are located well within five miles of a major highway.

Exhibit 4-1: Map of Venues in Portland that Host PSEs with More Than 10,000 Attendees
Map of the Portland area with venue locations highlighted.

Additionally, the following municipal departments were contacted to collect information on open-area PSEs:

  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Revenue Bureau
  • Police Bureau

Data Collection by Venue

The next few paragraphs provide a description of each of the PSE hosting venues in the city that draws crowds of more than 10,000 people.

Rose Garden Arena

Rose Garden Arena is an indoor venue located in downtown Portland. The Rose Garden Arena and Memorial Coliseum are both part of the Rose Quarter, a sports and entertainment district that is managed by Global Spectrum Inc. The Rose Garden is the largest stadium in the city and has a maximum capacity of 20,500. It is the home of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Portland Trailblazer team. Other PSEs hosted at the Rose Garden Arena include concerts and shows (e.g., circuses). The Rose Garden arena hosts an average of 66 PSEs annually.

PGE Park

The maximum capacity of PGE Park is 19,600 for typical sporting events. During concerts, the capacity is increased to 26,000 by utilizing floor space and adding a few additional bleachers. The maximum capacity ever obtained for an event at PGE Park was 29,000 for a special one-time-only soccer event.

The tenants of PGE Park include a AAA Minor League Baseball team known as the Portland Beavers. The Beavers host 76 events per year and have an average attendance of 8,000 people. Around seven Beaver games exceed 10,000 in an average year. The Portland Timbers, a professional soccer team, also plays an average of 18 games per year in PGE Park and has an average attendance of 9,000 people per game. About six of these games draw crowds in excess of 10,000 per year.

In addition to these professional teams, the Portland State University college football team plays in PGE Park and has an average attendance of 5,000. One PSU game in 2007 drew over 10,000 attendants. There are approximately 20 events per year related to football, but this number also includes a few high school football games. The total number of events at PGE Park in an average year is 138, with the remaining events comprised of concerts, special soccer matches, or other sporting events. About 17 of these events draw crowds in excess of 10,000 per day.

Oregon Convention Center

The Oregon Convention Center hosts 600,000 visitors annually. On average it has 35 exhibitions that draw crowds larger than 10,000 people. The convention center is also host to an annual cheerleading competition that achieves six event days with over 10,000 attendees.

Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center

The Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center in downtown Portland hosts about five PSEs per year with attendance of over 10,000 people. The five PSEs usually consist of one concert and four expositions. Unlike most other specially designed facilities, the Center does not have dedicated parking.

Portland International Raceway

Portland International Raceway (PIR) is capable of hosting 66,000 people. The raceway has 26,000 bleacher seats and can host an additional 60,000 standing participants. The largest event hosted at the PIR is the annual Champ Car race, a three day event with an average daily attendance of 11,500 people. The Champ Car race is the only event at the PIR that attracts more than 10,000 attendants.

Columbia Edgewater Country Club

The Columbia Edgewater Country Club hosts the annual Safeway Classic tournament. This annual golf tournament is for professional golfers on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour and is held over the course of a week during the month of August. There are usually four event days with attendance exceeding 10,000 during the tournament. The Safeway Classical is the only golf tournament in Portland that draws PSE-level crowds.

Data Collection by Activity

The next few paragraphs describe data collected for each of the PSE event types in the Portland area.

Professional Sports

Portland has three professional sports teams: baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. The city does not have a professional football team. Event data for the professional teams are summarized in Exhibit 4-2.

Exhibit 4-2: Professional Sports Teams in Portland
Sport Team League Primary Venue Average Number Of Event Days With More Than 10,000 Attendees
Baseball Beavers AAA* PGE Park
Basketball Trailblazers NBA Rose Garden Arena 44
Ice Hockey Winter Hawks CHL** PGE Park 0
* AAA Minor Baseball League
** Canadian Hockey League

College Sports

The Portland State University football team plays at PGE Park. During the 2007 session the team had only one game with more than 10,000 in attendance.

Auto Racing

As discussed above, Portland is home to the popular annual Champ Car race held at the Portland International Raceway (PIR). The race is a three-day event with an average daily attendance of 11,500 people. According to officials at the PIR, there are no other race tracks in the Portland area that attract crowds of more than 10,000 people.

Golf Tournaments

The four golf courses that have hosted tournaments with greater than 10,000 attendees since 2000 in the Portland area were contacted for this study. The golf courses are:

  • Oregon Golf Club
  • Crosswater Golf Club
  • Columbia Edgewater Country Club
  • Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club

Additional comprehensive information on golf tournaments and their associated attendance was gathered from Peter Jacobson Productions (PJP), a sports marketing and event management company run by its namesake professional golfer and CEO.14

According to PJP, as of 2006 there was only one ongoing golf tournament occurring in the Portland area, the Safeway Classic at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club. There are usually four event days with attendance exceeding 10,000 during the tournament. As a result, an estimate of four event days with more than 10,000 attendants was used in this study. Information about golf tournaments in the Portland area is summarized in Exhibit 4-3.

Exhibit 4-3: Golf Tournaments in the Portland Area
Golf Course Tournament Start Year End Year Duration (days) Attendance by Day During Tournament (in thousands)
Mon Tues Wedns Thurs Fri Sat Sun Total
Oregon Golf Club Fred Meyer Challenge 1998 2002 3 N/A N/A N/A N/A 50 50 50 150
Crosswater Golf Club JELD-WEN Tradition 2003 2006 4 N/A N/A N/A 18 18 18 18 72
Columbia Edgewater Country Club Safeway Classic 1970 Continuing 7 5 5 5 18 18 18 18 51
Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club US Women's Open 2003 2003 7 3 3 3 15 15 15 15 69

Street Events

Street events in the Portland area include fairs, festivals, marathons, and protests. Information on street events was collected from the Portland Revenue Bureau, which issues permits for these events. According to the Revenue Bureau, an average of six street PSEs occur annually.

Expositions and Shows

As discussed earlier, most large exhibitions in Portland are held at the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center. The Oregon Convention Center is the larger of the two, averaging 41 PSEs with an attendance of over 10,000 people annually. The Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center in downtown Portland hosts about five PSEs per year, usually one concert and four expositions.

PSE Event Days Summary Matrix

The matrix in Exhibit 4-4 categorizes event days for PSEs in the Portland area by event type and venue location. Portland is host to approximately 187 PSEs annually. Accordingly, there is an average of about one PSE every two days.

Exhibit 4-4: Matrix of PSE Event Days with More Than 10,000 Attendees in Portland
 Affiliated Team/Event Average Attendance Rose Garden Arenad Memorial Coliseum PGE Arena Oregon Convention Center Portland Metropolitan Esposition Center Street Parks Portland International Raceway Coumbia Edgewater Country Club Total
Professional Football            010
Professional Baseball Beavers 8,000   7       7
Professional Basketball Trailblazers 15,500 44         44
Professional Ice Hockey Winterhawks           0
College Football PSU    1       1
College Basketball PSU           0
Auto Racing Champ Car 11,500        3  3
Horse Racing            0
Golf Tournaments Safeway Classic          4 4
Marathons  22,000      4    4
Concerts  12,400 20 1 2  1  1   25
Parades  250,000      1 1   2
Fairs            0
Festivals  14,222       38   38
Protests/Political Events  19,000      1 1   2
Expositions and Shows  12,000    35 4     39
Other-Cheerleading  10,000    6      6
Other – Family Shows  11,000 2         2
Other –Soccer Timbers    7       7
Other – Bicycling         3   3
Total   66 1 17 41 5 6 44 3 4 187
Maximum Facility Capacity   20,500 19,980 19,000 10,000 NA NA NA 86,000 NA
Public Transportation (Y/N)   Y Y Y Y Y Y NA Y N
Near Interstate (Y/N)   Y Y Y Y Y Y NA Y Y
Type of Public Transit*   B, L B, L B B, L L B, L NA L NA
Number of Parking Spaces   2,600 2,600 0 NA 2,500 0 NA 1,500 200

Venue Location

  D D D D U D R U U
* Response options are: B (Bus), L (Light Rail), H (Heavy Rail)
** Response options are: D (Downtown), U (Urban), S (Suburban), R (Rural)

The number of venue-specific PSE event days with more than 10,000 attendees as a percent of the total number of PSEs with more than 10,000 attendees is summarized in Exhibit 4-5. There are on average approximately 187 PSE event days with attendance over 10,000 annually. Statistically, this is an average of 3.6 PSE event days per week, or one every 1.9 days. The majority of these events, 35 percent, are hosted at the Rose Garden Arena. The second most frequent host of these events is the Portland Park System, which hosts 24 percent of all PSEs with attendance over 10,000. In third place is the Oregon Convention Center, which hosts 22 percent of all PSEs with attendance over 10,000.

Exhibit 4-5: PSE Event Days with More Than 10,000 Attendees by Venue in Portland
Venue Venue type Number of PSE event days annually Percent of Total (%)
Rose Garden Arena Stadium 66 35.3
Memorial Coliseum Stadium 1 0.5
PGE Park Stadium 17 9.1
Oregon Convention Center Convention Center 41 21.9
Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center Convention Center 5 2.7
Street Street 6 3.2
Parks Parks 44 23.5
Portland International Raceway Raceway 3 1.6
Columbia Edgewater Country Club Golf Course 4 2.1
TOTAL  187 100
Note: Due to rounding, the percentages may not add up to 100.

The majority of PSEs with attendance over 10,000 take place in stadiums and convention centers. The three stadiums and two convention centers listed in Exhibit 4-6 hosted about 70 percent of all such PSEs.

Exhibit 4-6: PSE Event Days with More Than 10,000 Attendees by Activity in Portland
Activity Category Activity Number of PSE Event Days Annually Percent of Total (%)
Professional Sports Professional Football 0 0
Professional Sports Professional Baseball 7 3.7
Professional Sports Professional Basketball 44 23.5
Professional Sports Professional Ice Hockey 0 0
Professional Sports Other – Professional Soccer 7 3.7
College & High School Sports College Football 1 0.5
College & High School Sports College Basketball 0 0
College & High School Sports Other 0 0
Racing Auto Racing 3 1.6
Racing Horse Racing 0 0
Racing Other - Bicycle 3 1.6
Golf Golf Tournaments 4 2.1
Concerts Concerts 25 13.4
Marathons Marathons 4 2.1
Parades Parades 2 1.1
Fairs Fairs 0 0
Festivals Festivals 38 20.3
Protests / Political Events Protests / Political Events 2 1.1
Expositions & Shows Expositions & Shows 47 25.1
TOTAL  187 100
Note: Due to rounding, the percentages do not add up to 100.

Professional sports account for 27 percent of PSEs with attendance over 10,000. Concerts, festivals, and expositions, account for 13, 20, and 25 percent of PSEs respectively. These four categories combined account for about 85 percent of all PSEs with attendance over 10,000.

Traffic Impacts

Results of the congestion analysis for the Portland area are summarized in Exhibit 4-7.

Exhibit 4-7: Congestion Costs per Year Due to PSEs in Portland
Congestion Category Units AM Peak (44%) PM Peak (56%) PSE Caused (4%) PSE Caused (8%) Totals
Average Delay per traveler Hours 16.8 21.2 0.8 1.7 38
Wasted Fuel per Traveler Gallons 11.9 15.1 0.6 1.2 27
Travel Delay Hours 14,893,805 18,766,195 750,648 1,501,296 33,660,000
Excessive Fuel Consumed Gallons 10,622,566 13,384,434 535,377 1,070,755 24,007,000
Congestion Cost $ Million 277 348 14 28 625

The annual delay per traveler in Portland is estimated to range between 0.8 and 1.7 hours per year as a result of planned special events, while the wasted fuel per traveler is between 0.6 and 1.2 gallons. The cumulative travel delay for Portland as a result of planned special events is between 751,000 and 1,501,000 hours per year, and excess fuel consumed is between 535,000 and 1,071,000 gallons per year. Finally, the congestion cost of these events is estimated to be between $14 million and $28 million dollars per year.

The previously determined attendance figures were used to assess more specific congestion effects in the Portland area. The 44 Portland Trailblazers professional basketball games per year have an average attendance of 15,500 people. That equals 682,000 attendees of professional basketball in the Portland area per year, or approximately 30 percent of all planned special event attendance in the Portland area.

The total annual travel delay for Portland as a result of professional basketball is between 225,300 and 450,300 hours. On a per game basis, given 44 games per year, this breaks down to between 5,120 hours and 10,200 hours of delay caused by each professional basketball game in the Portland area.

The excess fuel consumed in the Portland area due to professional basketball is between 160,500 and 321,000 gallons per year, which translates to between 3,650 and 7,300 gallons per game. The congestion cost is between $4 million and $8 million per year, or between $91,000 and $182,000 of congestion cost per professional basketball game.

A closer look at the characteristics of the Rose Garden Arena reveals many factors that help to reduce congestion caused by planned special events. Both buses and light rail are available and the Arena is located near an interstate, which provides a good access scheme for the events.

14 Telephone interview with officials at Peter Jacobson Productions on 24 January 2008.

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