Expansion Update: Portland in Trouble?

pgeWe have discusssed Portland’s expansion bid on multiple occassions.  Recently, these stories have focused on the “funding gap” between the money promised by Merritt Paulson, the City of Portland and other sources.  Specifically, there is more than a $28 million hole, even if the City is able to sell more than $35 million in bonds in a tough market (if not, the gap is much larger).  Now citizens in Portland opposed to the deal are speaking out in an effort to kill the deal.  The Oregonian is reporting that a number of local architects are working to preserve Memorial Coliseum by placing it on the National Register of Historic Places.  If that effort is succesful, it would block the two-step required to get the Timbers their own stadium.  Portland’s minor league team is supposed to get a new stadium in place of the Coliseum while the Timbers are supposed to move to PGE Park.

Sensing the shifting winds, Mr. Paulson submitted an op-ed piece to the Oregonian in support of the deal.  In the article, he discusseds the proposed improvements to PGE Park, the importance of the Beavers and Timbers to Portland and the financial benefits of the new construction.  Also important is the connection between the stadiums, the Rose Quarter and downtown Portland.  At the same time, other columnists are taking a different view.

Just a few weeks ago, MLS fans were ecstatic about the prospect of a three team rivalry in the Pacific Northwest.  Now, the Portland deal is facing a number of hurdles that might slow down the process.  These challenges are typical for stadium construction projects nationwide.  Building multi-million dollar public/private projects is difficult and such efforts rightfully face significant amounts of scrutiny.  We will continue to monitor the efforts in Portalnd; it will certainly be a developing story over the next two years.

3 Responses

  1. With the news out of Montreal recently, you have to wonder if Saputo already has a deal in place with the league to step in if Portland’s situation falls apart. It may be a stretch, but crazier things have happened.

  2. […] Fights over stadium funding in Portland are continuing, with an ongoing spat between the City Mayor and County Commissioner front and center.  There is a $15 million dollar gap to bridge for stadium funding and the use of “Urban Renewal Area” funding is the big question.  If the gap remains, Portland will likely look to the Paulsons to bring the extra money.  Will they?  For more on Portland’s expansion bid, see here. […]

  3. […] the City Council.  We will address this story in depth going forward, but for now, please see our previous stories on expansion in […]

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