The Portland Expo Center, officially the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center, is a convention center located in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, United States. Opened in the early 1920s as a livestock exhibition and auction facility, the center now hosts over 100 events a year, including green consumer shows, trade shows, conventions, meetings and other special events. Located on the north side of Portland near Vancouver, Washington, it includes the northern terminus for the Yellow Line of Portland's light-rail transit system and has connections to TriMet Bus Line 11-Rivergate/Marine Dr.
|Portland Expo Center|
|Address||2060 North Marine Drive|
Portland, Oregon 97217
|Operator||Metropolitan Exposition and Recreation Commission|
|Pacific International Livestock Exposition|
|Hall A: 2,726|
Hall B: 2,700
Hall C: 4,736
Hall D: 7,000
Hall E: 9,000
|• Total space||330,000 square feet (30,700 m2)|
The complex was originally built in the early 1920s as the Pacific International Livestock Exposition, and operated as a livestock exhibition, cattle grading, and auction facility. Alexander Chalmers, Centerville/Forest Grove, breeder of Shorthorn Cattle; Frank Brown, Carlton, breeder of Shropshire Sheep and Shorthorn Cattle; Herb Chandler, Baker, breeder of Hereford Cattle; A.C. Ruby, Portland, breeder of Clydesdale Horses; O.M. Plumber, a Portland businessman; and W.B. Ayre, Portland, a wealthy lumberman as a group formed the Pacific International Livestock Show in Portland. The first year of the show (approx. 1920), the stock, including cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs, were housed in the beef cattle covered pens. Two huge exhibition tents were erected for the judging of the stock.
Later, a building was constructed adjacent to the North Portland stockyards, which was next to Swift & Co. slaughter and processing plant. Subsequent shows were held in this building, which still stood as of 1979. It is now owned by the Multnomah County Fair Association.
The show later had a side line of holding huge auctions of livestock for breeding purposes.
From May 2 to September 10, 1942, the center suspended livestock exposition operations and served as a Civilian Assembly Center under President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, which authorized the eviction and confinement of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast during World War II. 3,676 people of Japanese descent were confined in the hastily converted animal corrals for a period of five months, while they awaited transfer to more permanent camps in California, Idaho and Wyoming. Torii Gate, an installation piece by Portland artist Valerie Otani, acts as a memorial honoring the people held at the Portland Assembly Center in 1942.
For three months in the summer of 1959, the Oregon Centennial Exposition was held at the site. Among various attractions, the centennial exposition featured a railroad line that used two trains built for the then-new Portland Zoo Railway (now the Washington Park and Zoo Railway), on temporary loan.
Multnomah County acquired the facility in 1965; it was renamed the Multnomah County Exposition Center. It became home to the annual Multnomah County Fair in 1970, and the fairs were held there through 1996. After the Metropolitan Exposition and Recreation Commission of Metro, the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area, took over ownership and management of the facility in 1994, the complex was renamed Portland Expo Center. It has since undergone major renovations.
Events at the Expo Center include the Portland Better Living Home and Garden Show, Antique and Collectible Show and Christmas Bazaar.
Halls A, B, and C are currently the oldest buildings in the complex. Halls A and B have 15-foot (5 m) ceiling heights, and Hall C has a 25-foot (8 m) ceiling height. Hall A has 48,000 square feet (4,500 m2) of space and can accommodate up to 2,726; Hall B has 36,000 square feet (3,300 m2) of space and can seat up to 2,700; Hall C has 60,000 square feet (6,000 m2) of space, seats up to 4,736.
Hall D, the newest building in the complex (built in 2001), replaced an older exhibit hall. It has 72,000 square feet (6,700 m2) of space and a 30-foot (9 m) ceiling height, can be divided into two exhibit halls and can seat up to 7,000. Hall E, built in 1997, is the largest exhibit hall in the complex, with 108,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of space and a 30-foot (9 m) ceiling height. It seats up to 9,000. Halls D and E are connected by a 4,500-square-foot (420 m2) connector. East Hall has 4,400-square-foot (410 m2) of space. The complex has many meeting rooms and a total of 330,000 square feet (30,700 m2) of exhibit space.
- "About Expo". Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center. 2002. Archived from the original on April 17, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- Earl John Chalmers, William Chalmers – 1750-1979 on file at the Oregon Historical Society and The Washington County Historical Society
- "Portland Expo Center – History" (PDF). Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center. 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- Engeman, Richard H. (2009). The Oregon Companion: An Historical Gazetteer of The Useful, The Curious, and The Arcane. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-88192-899-0.
- Katagiri, George (2008–2010). "Japanese Americans in Oregon". The Oregon Encyclopedia. Portland State University. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- Sakamoto, Henry Shig. "Portland (detention facility)" Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- "Public Art on MAX Yellow Line". TriMet. 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
- "Expo Facility Info". Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center. 2002. Retrieved June 11, 2011.