Portland Meadows closes after 73 years

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A photo history of the Rose City’s race track

“Under lights as bright as a thousand moons, big-league horse racing comes to Portland Saturday,” The Oregonian wrote on Sept. 14, 1946.

The newspaper called the new, “ultra-modern” Portland Meadows racetrack a “long-courted dream for race-minded” locals, one that cost “considerably more than a cool million” to build.

The track’s proponents heralded it as the Rose City’s arrival on the national sports stage.

“This is not a ‘pocket edition’ of any other track but a full-scale race plant of which the Northwest can be proud,” declared developer Bill Kyne ahead of the inaugural race.

Just over 72 years later, what was likely the track’s last live horse race took place with much less fanfare. The venue’s owner, The Stronach Group, says Portland Meadows has been running in the red for years. It’s looking to turn the property into a warehouse/distribution complex. The racing season at the facility ended in February.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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