June 15, 2020

For Immediate Release, Monday 6/15/2020

Contact: Nathan.clark@multco.us

East Multnomah County Visitor Development Fund issues grants to assist local hotels

Vista House Multnomah County, Ore. - The East Multnomah County Visitor Development Fund (ECVDF) is distributing $344,774 to 22 local hotels in East Multnomah County. Grant funding amounts vary and are based on hotel size.  

The East County fund was created as a subcommittee of the Visitor Development Fund to provide fiscal grants that result in increased tourism opportunities and generate overnight hotel stays in East Multnomah County. The appointed members that oversee the fund are:  Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann, Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick, and local business owner Jatin Patel. Additionally, the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce, and a representative from McMenamins provide insight to this subcommittee. 

Funding for these grants come from the Transient Lodging Tax and Vehicle Rental Tax, known as the hotel/motel tax. They were designed to be used to attract visitors to Multnomah County and are restricted to tourism-only activities.

“Our tourism sector has been devastated, with hotels experiencing approximately an 80% decrease in revenue since the beginning of this pandemic.  It is critical to support the hospitality industry so that when the economy does recover, people will once again be able to enjoy the beauty of East County. We are the gateway to the majestic Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls, which are two of our largest tourist destinations.” said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann. 

“Local hoteliers help us share the charm and majesty of East Multnomah County with visitors from all over the country and even world,” said Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick. “The VDF continues to be an unprecedented public/private partnership. Now is a timely and crucial moment to offer these grants. I am proud we have found a way to help ensure locally-owned hotels can weather this unexpected economic impact.”

The East County Visitors Development Fund is requesting grant recipients use these funds to keep their establishments open by: 

  • Retaining and supporting their employees

  • Paying mortgage payments and property taxes

  • Paying utility payments

  • Maintaining property insurance

  • Funding advertising and marketing expenses 

Commissioner Stegmann went on to say:  “I am proud of the partnership that has developed between Multnomah County and our local hotels. We have worked closely with them to provide emergency beds during severe weather events, as well as provide rooms as a last resort for families in need. We know this pandemic will continue to increase that need and are asking hotels, if they are able, to consider partnering with our Joint Office of Homeless Services to provide hotel vouchers as we begin to reopen and rebuild the economy.”

The ECVDF is a three-member board with the following representatives:

Lori Stegmann, Multnomah County Commissioner

Shirley Craddick, Metro Councilor

Jatin Patel, Lodging Management Northwest

Additional input from local businesses and economic partners include:

Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce

West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce

McMenamins