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If my memory recalls correctly, the MPU has a 20 year lease on the location with an option to renew for another 10. The MPU is open to moving, but only if they get a facility that is of equal value to them. Meaning, *not* some place out on the Columbia far away from downtown. I think there is a perception by the MPU that Portland reluctantly gives the needed resources to the MPU.

I agree that the MPU is the elephant in the room. They will need to be moved off the waterfront property for the Mills to really blossom. If/when they are relocated, I hope it is still in NW, since I have enjoyed the MPU presence at 9th and Front for 15 years. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they are offered something in the developing south waterfront area.

As for who can push this... I have no idea. I think everyone is in holding right now, waiting to see what RFQs appear before committing to any relocations.


I remember reading the Feds were turning over their parking lot at the former INS building to the city for an additional North Park block. That could be a suitable location for the MPU.


May not be big enough. The MPU currently has stables and running grounds that seems to exceed that available real estate. The ODOT maintained (?) areas under the Freemont or Marquam bridges seem big enough and always vacant. I have no idea what issues those locations create for ODOT or the MPU.


It would be great if the mills complex were an entertaining and educational attraction drawing on the role of the mills in industry. The MPU might fit right into this concept.

PR is a great strength of the MPU due to the appreciation many people have for beautifully trained and cared for horses. Why not take advantage of that as a means of enhancing what would hopefully be the mills complex emphasis on entertainment and education? Admission fees for omething like this could even conceivably help offset the expense of sustaining the MPU.


Relocation under a freeway bridge is problamtic. ODOT won't allow any structures under their bridges because of liability and need for access. However, paddocks might be OK.

About 5 or so years back there was talk of moving the MPU over near the Eastbank Esplanade. However, among the concerns were the accessive noise and its potential impact to the horses.

I recall that the MPU wants close and convenient access to downtown. South Waterfront might just be too inconvenient for the MPU.

Ray Whitford

Not to say I would only want this but what about this suggestion:

Move the MPU to the land directly SW of the Powell Butte Nature Park (locals back in the 60s had a special name for the Butte which is our little secret) that is privately owned and give the owner (unk name to me and sorry I don't know the name of the Stable business name) some more business. Or buy the owner out. Use the horses to support the large parks on the East Side (Powell Butte, Tabor, the future 1,000 arces in Damascus). Bring the horses into Downtown for large or small crowd events only (political, Rose Quarter effects, parades, Waterfront events). Keep them on trails more to give them more exercise on dirt (less hoof issues).

Plus having some cops on horses (bikes?) on the trails at Powell Butte would make the locals/visitors feel safer. It is tough for the police to get into the Park (it is a big place).

And down the road (twenty-thirty years) if light rail goes out to Damascus on Foster Road, you could have a short spur with a barn for a horse rail car in order to move the horses cheaply from 136th and Foster to Downtown.

Maybe turn the property into the MPU and mountain bike training facility! Bikes are a big part of Portlands crime prevention. Getting cops onto the trails in Forest Park and Powell Butte seems to make sense. At least to me.

Finally the location is very close to the Springwater Trail which will help get the police onto the trail daily for runs by bikes and horses easier. Think of a police officier living near 136th and Raymond who walks to work and moving down the Springwater in the AM and out in the PM. Gresham might even consider supportting the Stable/Bike shop in order to get some presence into the Gresham Buttes park land down the road; large crowd events in Downtown or at MHCC; or getting into places where local gangs think the police cars can't go. and for large events.
Just a idea.

Ray Whitford


I, personally, welcome our new horsey overlords.

m conroy

i don't see why they shouldn't stay in nw. no one complains about the horses in manhattan or any other city with class. why must everything be modernized. they already paved over the cobblestones, why take away the horses too.


I hear that the Pearl residents have started a petition that they soften their whinnying during certain hours.


I hear that the Pearl residents have started a petition that they soften their whinnying during certain hours.

Modern Maven

Horses are actually very good for crowd control purposes. They are large animals that people will get out of the way for and keep the officer somewhat elevated and safe above the fray. Also, they are great for public relations. Kids love the horses. A lot of cities use them.

Fred Leeson

The Police Bureau wants the horses close to downtown and the Pearl. They have looked for other locations and have not found one. This is more complex than it seems. The fact is, MPU will be there for quite some time.


Maybe the horses can roam the new 'Fields' park. This city could use more interesting collisions of uses.


I want to second ws' observation earlier: the MPU can be a really positive contributing part of the mixture of programs, landscape, and built environment at the Centennial Mills site. Not only would it be good "PR", but the public would really enjoy contact (within bounds the police can determine) with the horses. An atmosphere of work and grit could remain alongside a new atmosphere of recreation and education.


I agree with zonk, keeping the horses gives Portland a charm like New York, and not to mention Europe still uses horses why can't we? Why do we have to be so 'modernized'? We have taken away our culture and most of our children know absolutely nothing about Portland's history. So I believe we should keep the MPU, especially since I plan on joining the MPU...

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