Multnomah Greyhound Park
The Remains of Multnomah Greyhound Park; Wood Village, Oregon
As a suburb of Portland, Oregon battles over the fate of its former racetrack property, the skeletal hulk sits empty surrounded by otherwise modern homes and shopping centers.
Greyhound racing in the Portland area began in 1933, organized by the Multnomah Kennel Club. From 1933 to 1955, races were held at Multnomah Stadium near downtown Portland – today the site of Providence Park and home to the Portland Timbers soccer team – and for the 1956 at Portland Meadows, a track used primarily for horse racing. In 1957, the Multnomah Kennel Club opened the track at Wood Village, a quiet suburb with a population of less than 4,000. Originally named Fairview Park, and then later Murray Kemp Greyhound Park after the Multnomah Kennel Club’s founder, the property’s name was changed to Multnomah Greyhound Park in 1991.
In the mid-1980’s at peak attendance, greyhound racing was called “the number one spectator sport in the state,” though soon after this attendance began to decline steadily. Betting at the park fell 50% between 1995 and 2002, a period of time that coincided with the rise of a state lottery and internet gaming, and in 2004, Magna Entertainment, who owned the Wood Village track, along with other local and national thoroughbred tracks, opted against renewing their lease on the building, citing a desire to concentrate on improving the horse track at Portland Meadows stadium in north Portland. Magna also set a covenant on the property forbidding dog racing for 25 years.
The closing of Multnomah Greyhound Park was the last Greyhound racing in the state of Oregon.
Track capacity was 18,760, while seating capacity was 6,064. The stadium also had television banks and a feed sent out for out-of-state bettors to watch races.
Within months of the track’s closure, there were efforts to construct and open a casino on the property. Though in 2010, a ballot measure that would’ve paved way for the creation of a casino was defeated with 68% of the vote. Two years later, another campaign to create a casino property invested over $6 million, before eventually pulling out before 2012 elections due to studies showing a lack of support.
In the meantime, the property has been used for SWAT practice and remains locked up.
After years of being on the market for $11.2 million, in October of 2o15, the Grand Ronde tribal confederation – who own another casino about 79 miles southwest of Portland – announced plans to purchase the property for an undisclosed amount. Though they have not made their plans clear for the property, they have not ruled out another attempt to construct a casino on the former greyhound track.
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outfield fence after years of abandonment
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