Mayor Hales, I am writing to you today as a member of Portland’s Customer Advisory Board, and as the Senior Director of Meetings and Expositions for the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). APhA is the nation’s largest organization of pharmacists, serving over 62,000 members worldwide and representing all pharmacy practice-care settings.
Our mission is dedicated to improving medication use and advancing patient care.
The Annual Meeting and Exposition produced by APhA draws to a destination over 6,000 attendees over four days with an estimated Overall Economic Impact of $7,885,550. On our busiest day, we require 2,400 plus sleeping rooms within easy distance to the Convention Center.
Portland has a tremendous amount of appeal for my attendees, and the Oregon Convention Center would work well for our meeting, however, due to the lack of a 600 plus room headquarter hotel, and additional hotels close to the convention center, APhA cannot currently consider Portland as a destination for the Annual Meeting.
At the recent meeting of the Portland Customer Advisory Committee, I was updated on the current status of the convention center hotel project. I want to stress to the Portland decision-makers that the development and construction of a major convention center hotel is absolutely critical for Portland’s future ability to succeed in a highly competitive meetings market. It would be crucial in a decision for me to consider Portland as an APhA Annual Meeting location.
It is also important to note that my typical HQ hotel has 800 to 1,200 rooms. Therefore, with the additional of a 600 room hotel, I would still require several other hotel options, and from all hotels it is vital attendees have easy transportation to the center. I urge you to continue efforts in providing free light rail (MAX and street car) for delegates to use during the meeting.
Although there are many wonderful areas and neighborhoods for delegates to explore during free time, the area immediately surrounding the center is in need of a makeover. Destinations are selected based on the convenience and diversity of dining, shopping and green space between hotels and the center. Safety is also an extremely high consideration when making a city selection. The additional of a convention center hotel could help create the impetus for further development near the center.
Please note that I am in strong support of the development of a new headquarter hotel, and the overall improvement of the convention center district. I urge you and encourage you and your colleagues to support these decisions, and make it possible for APhA, and other associations and organizations of our size, to bring business to Portland.
I thank you for your time, and wish you and Portland continued success.
Windy K. Christner, CMP
Senior Director, Meetings & Expositions