Portland to host 2016 General Conference

Portland, Ore., will be the site for the 2016 General Conference, the top legislative assembly of The United Methodist Church.

The assembly, which gathers every four years, will meet at the Oregon Convention Center. The tentative dates are May 10-20, 2016, according to the Commission on the General Conference.

"I believe the Portland area will afford the General Conference a fine experience in West Coast hospitality," said Bishop Robert Hoshibata, who leads the church's Portland Area.

We will do all we can to make it a warm and welcoming place where we can do the work of the church in an atmosphere of grace, as well as sharing the gifts of the Portland area with the wider United Methodist community."

He added that it would also be a great experience for United Methodists in the area to be able to see and participate in the event.

Bishop Robert Hoshibata

The site of the General Conference has traditionally rotated among the church's five geographic U.S. jurisdictions. Portland is in the Western Jurisdiction, which last hosted the assembly in 1996, in Denver.

The 2008 assembly was in Fort Worth, Texas, in the church's South Central Jurisdiction. Tampa, Fla., in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, will host the 2012 meeting. Tampa was also the site of the Nov. 11-13 meeting of the commission, which plans and directs the General Conference session.

Sixteen potential Western Jurisdiction sites received a request for a proposal to host the assembly. Portland was one of five finalists considered by the site selection team. Other cities were San Jose, Calif., Long Beach, Calif., Los Angeles and Seattle.

Factors considered in the site selection included suitability of facilities, availability of adequate space, proximity of hotel rooms, cost of lodging, meals, airfare, meeting space, and sales and room taxes.

Randall Miller, chairperson of the Commission on the General Conference, said Portland's hospitality and its "greenness" added to the city's appeal. Portland was named the "Greenest City in America" by Popular Science in 2008.

"Portland not only has a commitment to recycling, but also to green energy," he said. "A lot of the buildings have been designed to take advantage of green energy sources, and the way the city is structured in terms of transportation minimizes the use of cars. In many ways, Portland conforms with the values we have in The United Methodist Church about being wise stewards of God's resources."

Delegates from the United States, Africa, Europe and Asia will attend the gathering, which is expected to attract up to 6,000 visitors. The economic impact of the event on the Portland area is roughly estimated to be about $7 million, according to the commission.

Portland is a part of the denomination's Oregon-Idaho Annual (regional) Conference, which has more than 32,000 members and 213 local churches.

*This story is based on a press release from United Methodist Communications.

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