Oregon Zoo shakeup has HQ hotel ramifications

Oregon Zoo shakeup has HQ hotel ramifications
Neka the lion explores her new exhibit at the Oregon Zoo, which Teri Dresler will temporarily run after the departures of the zoo's director and a veterinarian this week. Dresler has been leading Metro's efforts to build a 600-room Hyatt Regency at the Oregon Convention Center. Metro says its support for the so-called HQ hotel project is unchanged. (Oregon Zoo/photo by Brock Parker)

Metro’s decision to temporarily reassign the lead staffer on its HQ hotel project won’t slow efforts to construct a 600-room at the Oregon Convention Center, the Portland Business Journal reported.

Teri Dresler is taking an “interim leadership role” at the Oregon Zoo, replacing Kim Smith, effective Tuesday. Metro announced Smith’s unexpected departure Tuesday, along with that of veterinarian Mitch Finnegan.

Metro, the regional government agency that oversees land use, planning and visitor facilities including both the convention center and the zoo, did not give a reason for the apparent shakeup, saying its policy is not to comment on personnel matters.

Dresler has been running Metro’s visitor venues division and is a key player in its ongoing effort to partner with Mortenson Development to construct a Hyatt Regency-flagged hotel at the convention center. The facility loses business each year because it lacks a major hotel attached to the property, backers of the convention center hotel maintain.

Scott Robinson, Metro’s deputy chief operating officer, will lead the visitor venue operation in Dresler’s absence.

Spokesman Jim Middaugh said Dresler’s 10-year history with the zoo made her the right fit for the important role.

Robinson has been deeply involved in the HQ hotel project and will continue the work on the $197.5 million project.

“We remain solidly committed to the hotel project,” he said.

The Portland Business Journal is a KATU.com news partner.

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