It's not that much further than Seattle, they have a perfectly suitable arena, we are recruiting more and more out of Oregon, and we have a competitor in the area that we could cripple even more than we already do by having a big game in their back, wait, front yard.
It's very important that we begin playing in Portland as soon as possible. We have had trouble getting home-and-home series with teams of high prestige, due to our mid-major status, how dangerous we are as a mid-major, and the venues we have at our disposal. I don't know how hard it is to get an arena to agree to have a college game, but take a couple things into mind and tell me we can't do this: 1) we have an annual game in Seattle, so we aren't illiterate in terms of negotiating, and, 2) in 2008, the Big Sky Men's Tournament Semifinals and Finals were played in the Rose Garden, so it's not like we're too small for an NBA arena like this. We have two arenas that we have used for our end of neutral site deals with BCS conference teams and Memphis: Spokane Arena (12,210) and KeyArena in Seattle (17,072). The Rose Garden has a basketball capacity of 20,630. Portland is our best bet to get schools like UNC, Syracuse, or Duke (since they owe us a trip out here) to come West and give us a chance at beating them. I don't think Portland has any kind of neutral site games to host already, so let's jump on it.
Perhaps the most important issue with playing in Portland is that it has become a very fertile city for recruiting basketball talent. Seattle has been great for a decade or so now, and Portland is catching up. We need to tap into this while we still can, and get a big name school to come in and help us sell out that arena. How cool would it be to play Arizona, UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, or Duke in the Rose Garden?