March Madness descends on Portland

Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 6:23 AM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – With Portland hosting some of the first and second round games of the NCAA men’s tournament, it’s expected to bring the city nearly $4 million.

At the Nines in downtown Portland, valet parking is full and guests are unloading, including some of the 20,000 fans expected for the weekend’s games.

“There are about 3,000 UCLA people that got tickets through UCLA,” says James Tolich, who flew in from Beverley Hills. As a Bruin himself and big fan of all things UCLA, he was not about to miss this. “I graduated from UCLA and I’m a surgeon at UCLA. I followed all their games, I’ve been to every last football game since 1954 home and away. It doesn’t come any more true Bruin.”

Aside from the fans, according to Sports Oregon, there are seven designated hotels downtown and in the Lloyd District with more than 3,000 rooms booked for teams.

Mateo Gonzales is here as part of the Gonzaga Bulldog band and told FOX 12 he’s enjoying his first visit to Portland.

“We’re lucky to be able to travel because it’s been restricted and a lot of people here are traveling for the first time,” Gonzales says. “We’re all kind of on the same boat.”

This is the first March Madness without capacity restrictions since 2019 and it’s the fourth time Portland is hosting. The last was in 2015.

FOX 12 checked with a dozen hotels, some saying the tournament isn’t a huge boost for them. Others say they’re very busy like Hotel Deluxe which is fully booked Friday and Saturday night.

The general manager at the Hyatt, directly across from the Moda Center, say they’re thrilled to be part of this.

While those who came here for the tournament are hoping Portland is more than just the first stop.