As Qatar projects boggle the mind, officials visit Portland

As Qatar projects boggle the mind, officials visit Portland
Photo of Qatar courtesy of the Portland Business Journal

A delegation of officials preparing for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be blowing through Portland next week to meet with business leaders and visit Nike, Jeld-Wen Field and the Port of Portland.

So why does this matter?

“I think every architect and engineer in the world is aware of the investment going on in Qatar,” said Jan Willemse, a partner at of ZGF Architects. “Anytime Qataris go anywhere there is plenty of interest, because 2022 is right around the corner.”

Consider the following very partial list of projects underway or under consideration in Qatar, which has the fastest growing population and the highest per-capita income in the world:

1. Modular stadiums. Talk about recycling and reusing! Imagine huge sports stadiums that get disassembled after the games end and shipped on to the next host city. Qatar is studying proposals but no one has gotten the contract yet.

2. Four subway lines and three light rail projects, a $35 billion investment.

3. The 76-acre, 110-building redevelopment of the old section of Doha. Portland-based Interface Engineering and Green Building Services are working on the sustainability requirements of that project, and hoping it will lead to further contracts as Doha’s building frenzy accelerates.

4. $25 billion in port investments, including $15 billion for a new marine port and $10 billion for an expanded airport.

Portland is one of three west coast cities along with with Los Angeles and Seattle that will host the Qatari delegation next week. Leading the delegation are Hassan Al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, and the U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Susan Ziadeh.

Ziadeh’s predecessor as ambassador to Qatar was Joseph LeBaron, an alumnus of Portland State University. Other prominent PSU alumni with strong Qatari ties include Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Bin Jassim Al-Thani, a member of the nation’s ruling family; Qatar’s Minister of Justice, Husan Al Ghanam; and the vice president of the Doha Chamber of Commerce.

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