Who will really pay for MLS in PDX?

By Representative Nick Kahl (D-Rockwood).

In Jeffrey Jeremy Wright’s post, “Why progressives should support the MLS to PDX proposal,” he supposed that to challenge the use of urban renewal dollars in this instance is to challenge the validity of urban renewal itself. Well, I am offering a challenge. I am not against the idea of major league soccer in Portland, but against the way that the project will be funded. In other words, I challenge the way urban renewal is presently practiced. There is no doubt that some of these districts have been wildly successful, but successful for whom?

Portland is a city marked by gentrification and the flight of poverty to the city's outer core. Part of the flight has come to my district, 49. It is out of sight and out of mind and my neighbors are suffering.

Urban renewal can be an effective tool to address urban blight, as long as the public is presented with an accurate assessment of the trade-offs that are being made, relevant stakeholders are given a seat at the table and the most vulnerable members of these “blighted” communities are also benefited. The establishment of an urban renewal district in this area, an area that includes a MAX line, expensive condos and the Multnomah Athletic Club hardly constitutes “blight removal.” Perhaps as a result of statutory ambiguity and a lack of objective criteria, “blight” may truly be in the eyes of the beholder. However such a district would socialize private risk, subvert the legitimacy and intent of the urban renewal laws, and would effectively constitute Robin Hood-in-reverse.

Multnomah County is facing a budget shortfall of $45 million. This is after cutting their budgets over the last eight years. This latest shortfall will not be solved simply by belt tightening; this will result in the elimination of entire programs. Meanwhile, Multnomah County forgoes $20 million dollars every year in property tax revenues from urban renewal areas. These dollars could otherwise go to fund a SUN school at every school in the county, 42 School Based Health Clinics, or 1,100 treatment beds for the mentally ill. Because of these opportunity costs, Multnomah County should have a seat at the table with the City of Portland when discussing all areas of urban renewal. Urban renewal should not only address housing and infrastructure needs but also the social needs of the community itself as a mechanism of shared prosperity rather than a transfer of wealth.

Because of this, I am proposing legislation that will offer a seat at the table to Multnomah County. House Bill 2615 will do the following: Require county approval by counties with a population of at least 300,000 for the establishment of new urban renewal districts; allow urban renewal funds to be used for social services within the urban renewal area; and require an economic viability study for the proposed plan with and without the provision of social services. This proposed legislation was recently discussed in a Willamette Week article by Nigel Jaquiss entitled Curbin’ Renewal.

Again, I am not against major league soccer coming to Portland. I just don’t want soccer at the expense of my constituents and neighbors. These residents are some among many who will be denied the social services they need now more than ever as a result of foregone revenue used to fund the proposed stadium.

Comments

  • vic (unverified)
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    Stopped reading at the second word, when you got the name of the author of the post to which you were responding WRONG. Factual errors like that undermine your credibility irreparably.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    So Nick you're a real smart cookie. You realize we're talking about funds that constitute about .5% of the yearly budget for the city of Portland? I'm just ripping off numbers here... we're talking about $25 million in URDs, which is $1.8 million per year. CofP's annual budget is $350 million. Portland Public Schools annual budget is $400 million.

    Talking about this thing as a major threat to what Rep. Kahl want to solve is laughable.

    Grow up Portland. Answer 1 question for me if you're against this. If you run Merritt Paulson out of town who will rent PGE park and pay off the bonds.

    If we run him out now minor league soccer will die due to the closest competitor being 1000 miles away. Travel expenses make it impossible to survive. AAA baseball will leave because it isn't feasible by itself alone at PGE Park and there are plenty of cities like Tucson, AZ and Richmond, VA that have built AAA parks and would be more than willing to accept our AAA franchise. Think that's unbelievable? Remember 1993 or so when Joe Buzas moved the old Beavers to Salt Lake because they built a stadium? Then he proceeded to make money hand over fist until he died in 2003?

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    The Oregonian doesn't agree with Rep. Kahl either.

    Bend It Like Portland

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Thank you representative Kahl. My only question is why you set HB 2615 at 300,000. It would appear to me that there are probably only 2-3 counties other than Multnomah in the state that would benefit from this reasonable oversite bill.

    Urban Renewal Districts were a reasonable mechanism designed well over 30 years ago to deal with recognizable urban blight and crumbling infrastructure in cities. Unfortunately, that noble ideal has been replaced by many cities to fit their needs for whatever "felt good" at the time. Witness the failed Urban Renewal District in Medford:

    Two or three years ago, the Medford City council unilaterally extended the life of their Urban Renewal District in order to pay for sewer and other infrastructure upgrades to the city. Why was this done? They did this for the sole purpose of facilitating a private Corporation, Lithia Motors. Lithia had land in downtown Medford as well as land outside the city boundary. They had plans at the time to build a seven story office complex and preferred to do this downtown.

    The Medford Urban Renewal District was set to expre, but the city extended its life with the sole purpose of paying for the improvements so Lithia could build their private office building. This was done over the objections of many citizens and in the face of a rather dubious history of successful accomplishment.

    Fast forward to 2008 and the meltdown of Lithia's net value as a result of the economic downturn. The company will not only NOT be building an office tower, but may well no longer be a separate private company. However, the extended life of Medford's Urban Renewal District continues on, takking tax revenue away from the county, schools and other entities.

  • Eoghantodd (unverified)
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    I appreciate your thoughts, but scrapping soccer is not the way to go.

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    @vic, Jeremy's name has been corrected.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Also...just wanted to throw this out there. Rep. Kahl's idea to, "Require county approval by counties with a population of at least 300,000 for the establishment of new urban renewal districts; allow urban renewal funds to be used for social services within the urban renewal area; and require an economic viability study for the proposed plan with and without the provision of social services," is perhaps the dumbest thing I've ever read.

    If we put those to vote we likely wouldn't have the Pearl District or South Waterfront. I can think of plenty of special interests that would have used exactly the same arguments against those URDs as this one.

  • Nosliw (unverified)
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    Since when did progressives become so fiscally conservative. This is a plan that pays for itself with ALL THE RISK BEING ASSUMED BY A PRIVATE PARTY.

    It might seem popular to pile on to an easy target like sports, but you are doing a disservice to Portland and Progressives by spreading misinformation.

    I, and many other independent people have looked at the stopgaps and this works out to a great plan fur all of us - something that will generate revenue for the city and provide job with no real downside or risk.

    It is so Bush Administration to see articles like this one towing the same line witout looking at the facts just because it plays well to the audience.

    Maybe try being a real progressive.

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    Hang on people. Has Paulson said anywhere that if we don't put up $80 million in bonds to renovate PGE (again) and build a baseball ballpark that he will leave town? Not bonding does not equal "running Paulson out of town."

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    While I'm generally sympathetic to the argument that private sports should not be funded by public dollars, there's a balance to be struck. MLS is a low-end sport and would be more broadly available to poor families than any other professional league. I guess I resist the argument that this is a zero sum, either/or situation.

  • bradley (unverified)
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    Paddy,

    MLS is a healthy and growing league and the expansion fee climbs with each successive expansion. Most recently it moved from 30 million to 40 million. Mr. Paulson is assuming all of the risk in this venture so how do you think he is going to view working with this city if they refuse his proposal which will likely end up costing him millions more IF we are ever lucky enough to be considered for MLS in the future? The time is now and as Jeremy indicated in his article this is a win, win, win for Portland. Vancouver is getting in folks and Seattle is already there so passing on this will go a long way in killing a sport that truly has the capacity to appeal to our very rich and diverse culture here in Portland.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Paddy McGuire "Hang on people. Has Paulson said anywhere that if we don't put up $80 million in bonds to renovate PGE (again) and build a baseball ballpark that he will leave town? Not bonding does not equal "running Paulson out of town."

    Unfortunately, Not bonding PGE DOES equal "running Paulson out of town." Those are the on-the ground facts. When Vancouver moves to MLS (CBC is reporting Vancouver's bid will be approved) Portland is going to be left the only team in the USL-1 west of the Rockies....

    http://www.uslsoccer.com/teams/index_E.html

    The minor league soccer financial model doesn't work when the club has to pay the costs for cross-country plane flights for every single away match. A side effect of Seattle and Vancouver leaving the USL-1 for the MLS is that Portland isn't financially viable by itself west of the Rockies in the USL-1.

    As a domino effect of the Portland Timbers being no longer financially viable alone west of the Rickies in the USL-1, The Beavers are no longer financially viable without the Timbers in PGE Park helping to pay part of the expenses.

    The facts are Portland Timbers either move up to MLS or the dominoes start falling over triggering both the Timbers and Beavers leaving Portland, and the previous round of bonds that were issued for PGE Park has nobody to pay for them.

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    Okay, so the market that Mr. Paulson has chosen to enter has changed. Welcome to 2009. I fail to see how not providing public bonding authority (and a guarantee from Portland taxpayer) is the same as "running him out of town."

    In Jeremy's previous post, he boasted that MLS would create 300 permanent jobs, 200 of which would be full time. My BS alarm went off, but no one answered my question about whether there were really 200 more full time jobs in an MLS organization than in a USL organization. I ask again: How many people are currently employed by the Beavers/Timbers and how many will be employed by the Beavers/MLS Timbers?

  • Goon (unverified)
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    Why should Portland jump on to a sinking ship? Financially, soccer is a loser in the US. Every attempt to make it pick up here, in Australia, Canada, and various places in Asia have been financial catastrophes. Just because it's a winner in Europe and South America doesn't mean it should be picked up six thousand miles away.

    Saying that the sky is falling because Portland won't have a team in a sport that virtually nobody cares about for more than a thousand miles in every direction is absurd.

    If we want to experiment with the most boring, jingositic, imperialist sport in the world, then we should do it when we have extra cash to throw in to a black hole.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    @Paddy McGuire Hang on people. Has Paulson said anywhere that if we don't put up $80 million in bonds to renovate PGE (again) and build a baseball ballpark that he will leave town? Not bonding does not equal "running Paulson out of town.

    Nope...I put two and two together. The Timbers would be alone in the Northwest in the USL. The nearest competitor will be Minnesota and Austin. Both are 1000+ miles away and travel expenses alone would kill the team. It might be too much for the league since most of the teams are on the east coast. Look at the map.

    Second why would he keep the AAA team here? If you think PGE is such a great place to see a AAA game you've obviously not been drumming up a ton of people at the gate. PGE is a failure as a minor league baseball park. It's far too big and has none of the intimacy of the many AAA parks I've been to. Throw in the fact there are two cities with ready to go AAA parks in Richmond, VA and Tuscon, AZ with several others having funding ready to go...it doesn't take a genius to get the idea that the smart business move would be to either A: Move the team there yourself or B: Sell the team to someone that wants to move the team.

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    And then who is on the hook for the bonds for the 2001 renovation of PGE?

  • bradley (unverified)
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    Goon,

    I would be curious to see some facts to back up your assertion that MLS is a sinking ship. Attendance figures have reached NBA and NHL levels. The league is doing well and has a more successful track record than the NBA in it's infancy. Portland joining the league with all of it's natural rivals will be another smart move by MLS. While I appreciate Paddy's comments that seemingly appear to be of genuine concern, it is clear that goon just plain hates soccer. Soccer is Portland's sport, that is why it is affectionately referred to as Soccer City USA.

    Paddy, I can't answer your question about permanent jobs and I am hoping that Merritt Paulson addresses this when he presents his case to the city.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I still can't understand why anyone would want to watch a soccer match in which one's child isn't playing.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    If we put those to vote we likely wouldn't have the Pearl District or South Waterfront.

    I guess the memory hole has swallowed damn near everything about the South Waterfront fiasco. Remember how a bit part of the sales pitch for the SoWa was a fanciful vision of a high-tec biotech OHSU spinoff? Never materialized, follks, and not because of the recent economic downturn. Meanwhile OHSU was blackmailing the City for tax abatements and the aerial tram, threatening to take its toys and move elsewhere if the City didn't bend over.

    While I'm generally sympathetic to the argument that private sports should not be funded by public dollars, there's a balance to be struck. MLS is a low-end sport and would be more broadly available to poor families than any other professional league. I guess I resist the argument that this is a zero sum, either/or situation.

    That is a shockingly patronizing statement, Mr. Alworth. Throw a few crumbs--a "low-end sport"--to the working class, eh?

    Frankly, I find it sort of pathetic when cities get their identities wrapped up with professional sports teams.

    And should you all have forgotten, the City is presently embroiled in a lawsuit alleging misuse of urban-renewal district funds, in connection with Sten's scheme to create a so-called satellite urban-renewal district in outher SE Portland--satellite of the Pearl District--to build a school. Yep, schools are a worthy enterprise, but the mechanism is so questionable that the whole business has ended up in court.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Sorry, I meant "big part of the sales pitch for the SoWa", not "bit part". :-)

  • Zag (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti = xenophobe idiot.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    If Portland is "Soccer City USA", there should be no problem attracting sufficient private investment in the form of season ticket futures.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Goon "Saying that the sky is falling because Portland won't have a team in a sport that virtually nobody cares about for more than a thousand miles in every direction is absurd."

    FAIL. Seattle has 22,000 new Sounders season ticket purchases worth of "nobody cares about in about soccer in 1000 miles." Vancouver is expected to average the same 20,000 fans Toronto FC has been averaging. LA Galaxy averaged 26,000. Chivas, LA's 2nd MLS club, averaged 15,000. San Jose 13,000.

    The rest of your post was the long litany of personal preference statements indicating you probably want Portland to spend a whole lot more money on a significantly much more expensive baseball or football stadium.

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    I don't get the repeated references to Richmond. They HAVE a AAA team, the R-Braves. It is a very popular franchise. I saw many of their games myself.

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    From the NY Times on 11/6/08:

    If he does not receive the financing, Paulson said he would continue running his two minor league teams. He is not facing a crisis or city officials who do not want to negotiate with him.

    “All I’m doing is presenting an opportunity,” he said. “It’s been embraced, but it doesn’t mean it will happen. I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head.”

    That does not sound to me like running Paulson out of town.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Zag,

    Just how does a lack of interest in soccer entail xenophobia? Perhaps "xenophobe" is your word-of-the-day, and you wanted to use it in a sentence. If so, you should take note that it is a noun, not an adjective.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Torrid Joe: Richmond Braves are moving to a suburb outside Atlanta when their lease in Richmond ends in 2010.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080115&content_id=2347023&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

  • bradley (unverified)
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    Paddy,

    Mr. Pauslon has never given reason to not take him at his word and I am sure that if this deal does not go through he will try and make the best of it. Several on this board have tried to lay out the reality of life in the USL without Vancouver and Seattle. The USL is a minor league and it would no longer be geographically suited to Portland, as again has previously been discussed. Can Portland make it with it's closest rival in Texas? I don't know. The city has a choice to make and I agree with the Editorial Board of the Oregonian in that it should be an easy one.

  • Goon (unverified)
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    Tom, because it has never worked in the US. The very fact that most people here consider soccer a little engine that could speaks volumes about its failure in the US. Soccer, as an industry, is a behemoth that makes the excesses of the MLB, NBA, and NFL look like a friendly game of tag. The fact that after decades and decades of one of the biggest industries in the world trying to ram its product down the throat of the US soccer has the reputation of being quaint or alternative is proof enough of its dismal failure here.

    There's almost no reason to assume that this moment in soccer history is any different than any of the other countless times we've been assured that soccer is going to be the best thing ever next year. Or that this has happened in Canada, Australia, or Japan. Or, to turn it around, when I was living in Europe there was always an overly loud group of people that thought that American football was going to be picked up some day - but fortunately saner heads rolled their eyes at the idea.

    If we want to experiment with something that has always failed when we have a bit of extra cash - fine. But doing so when we don't have any money is beyond absurd.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Paddy McGuire: "If he does not receive the financing, Paulson said he would continue running his two minor league teams."

    Back then, nobody considered it very likely Vancouver would get an MLS franchise while Portland stayed in the USL-1.

    Now that's exactly what's going to happen, and the Timbers are not financially viable as the only team west of the Rockies in the USL-1. If the Timbers aren't viable, the Beavers aren't viable by alone by themselves.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    The debate is not whether to bring MLS to Portland or not--Representative Kahl has stated he's not opposing the IDEA of bringing MLS in and I personally can see how a franchise here would be good for the city.

    Rather, the issue is HOW this happens and HOW we go about paying for it---and trust me, WE the citizens will end up paying for part of it. URDs originally were supposed to help improve areas where people were otherwise not inclined to live or place businesses---the "blighted" areas of our state. They were not meant to be a piggybank we could break into in order to fund other city/county projects, even worthy ones like bringing MLS to Portland.

    Also, if another URD is created so we can bring MLS to Portland, some Multnomah County revenue will be diverted at a time when the County is slashing the budgets of multiple departments. Not to mention the fact that the County Commissioners are not getting any say in this and they should if any Multnomah County revenue is being used. This isn't a decision just for the City Council, unless of course, the City of Portland wants to use only the money from it's own budget to fund this. This feels to much to me like "hey, we can't afford it any other way, let's call this an URD and then it'll work!". That wasn't and isn't the purpose of URDs.

    We need to have a serious discussion about URDs in this state---the history of why they were created and how that usage has changed over the years. Are URDs still being used in the manner and purpose for which they were originally intended? I don't believe so and I think the change is not for the better. Today we claim we need an URD for PGE Park---what about tomorrow? What pet project that we can't fund in any other way will be placed under the URD umbrella? For everything that is put under this umbrella, something else gets shoved out of it.

    Several people have mentioned above that Mr. Paulson could in the future simply declare bankruptcy and walk away, leaving the taxpayers with the bill--an option that is entirely unacceptable given the current economy.

    Now, having written all of that, I'll confess that I have not read the entire legislation yet (and I can tell I'm not the only one in that boat here), but only the summary and what I've seen in the papers and here on BO. So, I'm off to read exactly what Representative Kahl is proposing and I encourage everyone to do the same. But on the face of it, I agree with Representative Kahl that this is not the way to fund this project coming to Portland.

    Oh, and Garrett---above you wrote of the small percentage of funds that this project will use compared to the City of Portland and other budgets. If these were flush times, I might let that pass. But for every single dollar we allot right now---every single one---some program or department loses that dollar. And in a time when we are closing our courts, closing schools early, cutting public services--healthcare, law enforcement, projects to support our infrastructure? That's simply not acceptable to me. You say it's $1.8 million a year---I can think of many cut programs that could use that money. So, speaking in money terms, that's my two cents worth.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    "Goon" We get it. You don't like soccer. You prefer another sport. You want to spend a whole heck of a lot more money on an NFL or MLB franchise/stadium.

    What's the new Cowboys stadium going for now? A billion? Good luck with that.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Pertinent discussion of the economics HERE.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Garrett:

    Grow up Portland. Answer 1 question for me if you're against this. If you run Merritt Paulson out of town who will rent PGE park and pay off the bonds.

    Bob T:

    Even if that's what he will do, then so what. To go along with yet another corporate welfare scheme because of emotional tugs is to encourage more and more of the same.

    To engage in these deals just because "another city will do this if we don't" is, well, insanity.

    Reform starts at home.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Jeff Alworth:

    While I'm generally sympathetic to the argument that private sports should not be funded by public dollars, there's a balance to be struck. MLS is a low-end sport and would be more broadly available to poor families than any other professional league. I guess I resist the argument that this is a zero sum, either/or situation.

    Bob T:

    And this is just the kind of reasoning the Paulsons of the world look for. "Gee, if I could get people to think that this is all about bringing a sport to Portland that appeals to poor people, I'll get to laugh all the way to the bank". Do I hear "Useful idiot" ?

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    To Nick Kahl:

    Urban Renewal is a dangerous tool for government to have unless its uses are restricted to actual blight (which gets redefined every day). What you really need to do is include in your proposed legislation a ban on using any Urban Renewal money on professional sports.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    But, Bob, Portland will always be perceived as a backwater until we have a major league kickball...I mean, soccer team.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    The Paulson family makes their money the old fashioned way - by using other people's money.

    You go to the table at your own risk.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Jackbog has a nice summary post that shreds all of the Paulson/Oregonian BS on financing of this boondoggle:

    http://is.gd/mzJZ

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    @ Garrett: You made a mistake -- the Oregonian's editorial was "Bend Over Like Portland."

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    This whole thing really does make you shake your head in wonder at how well-oiled the corporate PR machine is ... when you have people arguing that the progressive position is to build a facility for a private corporate enterprise by risking money used for vital city public services (and by outright capturing the funds used for vital county public services).

    Hat's off to Paulson and the Oregonian -- I guess black really is white and 2+2 really is 5.

    (Meanwhile, back in real progressive reality, the support of a paper that relentlessly backed Gordon Smith and ran wildly biased coverage of him for more than 12 years should not be considered a plus for the soccer stadium.)

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti "But, Bob, Portland will always be perceived as a backwater until we have a major league kickball...I mean, soccer team."

    But, Tom, you just might want to think about what audience you are speaking. Just exactly who here at Blue Oregon is this Rush Limbaugh impression of yours supposed to win over?

  • Gail (unverified)
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    George Said: '@ Garrett: You made a mistake -- the Oregonian's editorial was "Bend Over Like Portland."'

    Wow, I am not a sports fan but to see so called progressives here spewing borderline homophobic comments (and just lame attempts at humor like above) that go along with the xenophobic comments and elietist 'soccer is for poor people' comments is just frightening.

    It really starts to become clear to me from reading these comments that the small Anti-MLS voice uses a conservative leaning but bogus financial smoke screen as a shill for racist, bigoted, and otherwise discriminatory motivations to not want to pursue this project.

    Some of what I have read in these comments from this group is truly disgusting and paranoid!

    I am hoping (and suspecting) that people like Tom C. and Bob T are not even Oregonians because that is not the way we tend to do things here.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Frank,

    Wise use of public funds is the real issue here. My snide remarks are an aside, but do reflect my opinion of soccer. It's great exercise to play the game, but it's as exciting to watch as golf and bowling. Beyond finding out just how long an announcer can extend the enunciation of one syllable - a couple of times per match, if the viewer is lucky - I find nothing whatsoever engaging about the sport.

    If I am a rare among Portlanders in my lack of enthusiasm for soccer, private investors for Paulson's team should be plentiful.

  • Roger (unverified)
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    Bob: "What you really need to do is include in your proposed legislation a ban on using any Urban Renewal money on professional sports."

    Really? You don't think a new stadium would be a godsend for the Lents district? You've just disqualified yourself. Thanks for playing.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Gail,

    What is "not the way we tend to do things here"?

    I would hope that such ambiguous ad hominem attacks as yours is not the way we do things here.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Tom,

    I've tried to be reasonable with you, but we've done 8 straight years of snide remark, personal insult-filled public discourse. Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt.

    I have found the sports one plays as they are grow up has much to do with how one perceives excitement in sport. I played baseball, basketball, and soccer as I grew. I percieve long delays in football for very brief periods of excitement as monotonous. Friends of mine who didn't play baseball would rather get themselves scheduled to have dental work than attend a baseball game.

    The difference between you and I, apparently, is that I'm fine with others feeling differently about or toward a subject than I do, and you are snide and insulting those who's experiences and tastes are different than your own.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Frank,

    How is my distaste for watching soccer insulting to you or anyone else? Are soccer fans so sensitive and lacking in self-esteem that they take criticism of the sport personally? It seems that you are "fine with others feeling differently about or toward a subject" than you as long as they don't express that different feeling. Am I missing something, or do you contradict yourself?

    I played more soccer than I did basketball as a youth, but I much prefer watching basketball to watching soccer, so your observation is not universally true.

  • Gail (unverified)
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    Tom C,

    Now you are suggesting that I am attacking you? See, this is exactly my concern that there is some kind of paranoid fear driven, NIMBY like respose to this proposal.

    No Tom, the soccer people (and the foreigners and gays for that matter) are not out to get you and steal your money!!

    While you certainly have the right to say these things, I am still extremely disappointed and offended by your point of view and I will not apologize for hoping for more from Oregonians.

    Just because you have the right to be a racist doesn't mean we should tolerate that on a progressive discussion board, so please take your hate speech elsewhere.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    @ Gail: Wow, nice little Sarah Palin imitation there, with your faux outrage over a common expression for getting screwed over, just like the Palindroids threw a fit over the "don't put lipstick on a pig" expression.

    As Frank asked, who are you trying to persuade here by saying that people opposed to using funds that would otherwise go to public services are "racist, bigoted and otherwise discriminatory?" This is the same line of reasoning that has been so helpful on the efforts to rename a street for Cesar Chavez --- advocates don't even bother trying to address the concerns raised, they go right for the throat and label anyone raising those questions a right-winger or a bigot/homophobe/xenophobe, you name it.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    This is one weird discussion. One pro-soccer commenter writes "Tom Civiletti = xenophobe idiot."

    Another suggests I am not a proper Portlander or Oregonian or Northwesterner because of something she does not specify.

    Then a third refers to my "personal insult-filled public discourse." All this is in reaction to my dislike of soccer; not soccer players, not soccer fans, not even soccer team owners. I criticized the entertainment value of watching a sport.

    I begin to see parallels between soccer fans and religious zealots [now I am talking about people]. They tend to regard all criticism of their beloved beliefs as unpardonable blasphemy.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Gail,

    Before I conclude that you are either a mentally ill person or an agent of Paulson's soccer enterprise, please quote my hate speech. I admit, I am at a total loss to understand my crimes. Take pity and help me understand - exact quotation preferred.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Tom "How is my distaste for watching soccer insulting to you or anyone else? Are soccer fans so sensitive and lacking in self-esteem that they take criticism of the sport personally?

    Trust me. I was born and raised here in the US, and my love of "The Beautiful Game" has survived the 30 years living here in the US since I played soccer growing up. Nothing you or anyone else is going to change how I feel.

    That said, your remarks ARE annoying. You ARE a pain in the a$$, and know you're being a pain in the a$$. You're reveling in it.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    @Bob Tiernan

    To engage in these deals just because "another city will do this if we don't" is, well, insanity.

    The insane thing to do is running the guy out of town who is currently paying down the bonds (and has no obligation to do so) and rents the stadium.

    As of now with a minimal amount of public money, which the family is personally backing (that was hammered out over the weekend) we get to have a profitable renter that will pay off all the stadium debt.

    If the USL Timbers go away due to monetary reasons the AAA Beavers will go at some point as well.

    @TorridJoe

    Richmond keeps getting mentioned because the Atlanta Braves decided to move the Richmond Braves closer to home.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    The day that Phil Knight personally builds a light rail line for the city of Portland is the day I support the City of Portland investing in professional sports.

    Until then, the City can handle the infrastructure while Paulson can pull together the investors.

    On a related subject, can someone enlighten me if it was the Hilton or the Marriott corporation that was high bidder to build the hotel at the Rose Quarter?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Frank,

    I am a "pain ..." because I called you on your unjustified righteousness. All your hyperbole boils down to you not liking that I express my dislike for watching soccer. I do not mind that you like soccer, really; it's okay. I hope you continue to take joy from the game.

    I also hope that gobs of public money are not spent to subsidize your joy. I think you and other soccer fans should pay for it yourselves.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    George Whateverthefrack Seldes "Wow, nice little Sarah Palin imitation there, with your faux outrage over a common expression for getting screwed over..."

    Pardon me George, but it's a common BIGOTED expression. The fact the statement gets said a lot doesn't make the statement any less bigoted.

  • (Show?)

    Rep. Kahl--

    First, thank you for joining us here.

    My question: Why not amend the Urban Renewal rules so that the city could vote to use the prop tax dollars that the city would get -- and leave the county out if it? And presumably, allow the county to vote for urban renewal projects of their own (leaving the city out of it).

    How did we ever end up in a situation where the city can vote to pull property off the county's tax rolls? It makes no sense.

  • (Show?)

    Another question: if this is a good principle, why limit it to counties over 300,000?

  • (Show?)

    "@TorridJoe

    Richmond keeps getting mentioned because the Atlanta Braves decided to move the Richmond Braves closer to home."

    Holy crap! I didn't here anything about that when I was there at Christmas. Thanks for the update. The wiki article does say they don't necessarily intend to expand the Intl League to accomodate another AAA team, though. Which would leave the Beavers downsizing.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti" Frank, I am a "pain ..." because I called you on your unjustified righteousness."

    No, Tom. You are an annoying pain in the a$$ because you think you have some right to dish out unlimited amounts of abuse to other people without anyone responding in kind, and when someone responds in kind, you cry like a little girl.

  • Bartender (unverified)
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    "MLS is a low-end sport and would be more broadly available to poor families than any other professional league."

    See the Merc's analysis of ticket prices here:

    $33 a ticket doesn't sound like anything poor families will be able to afford.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    No, Frank, you find me a pain because I can differentiate statements that make sense, whether or not I agree with them, and statements that are senseless, unsubstantiated, or self-contradictory.

    Your chosen technique of argument is to characterize your opponent to fit your position while making scant direct and reasonable reply to the sense of what is written.

    If objecting to such shoddy argumentation is "cry[ing] like a little girl", then so be it. I believe we all have both masculine and feminine aspects and that an adult should not abandon his inner child.

    By the way, how is use of the clause "cry like a little girl" any less bigoted than someone's [I forget who's] use of the clause "bend over Portland"? Are you, perhaps, selective in your perception of bigotry?

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti:

    But, Bob, Portland will always be perceived as a backwater until we have a major league kickball...I mean, soccer team.

    Bob T:

    But I thought that changed when we got the tram, and a renovated (bigger) convention center.

    Weak-kneed readers on this website need to watch "Roger & Me" again, and pay particular attention to the parts about the, what wuzit, a community theater to attract "major talent" (Pat Boone!). Some people laughed all the way to bank when that was built.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Bob T:

    What you really need to do is include in your proposed legislation a ban on using any Urban Renewal money on professional sports.

    Roger:

    Really? You don't think a new stadium would be a godsend for the Lents district?

    Bob T:

    Whether it would be or not isn't the issue. If Paulson can find the land and purchase from willing sellers without even resorting to eminent domain abuse, they can have it, Godsend or not. A Safeway would be nice, too, so would you like tax dollars used to build it for Safeway?

    Roger:

    You've just disqualified yourself. Thanks for playing.

    Bob T:

    No, you've just disqualified your own self for supporting corporate welfare and falling for the usual claptrap that works for thousands of other scams across the country.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co

  • Goon (unverified)
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    Frank said:

    "We get it. You don't like soccer. You prefer another sport. You want to spend a whole heck of a lot more money on an NFL or MLB franchise/stadium"

    When did I say that? Like 99% of Americans and Canadians I could not care less about soccer. I do care about throwing any kind of funds to something that has repeatedly failed over and over and over again when we don't have any money. If you want to make some goofy "if you build it they will come" chance at the slots when we're rolling in dough - or breaking even - then I can only roll my eyes.

    Since many, line Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen - among others - are opposed to this idea as it's taking food and housing from the poor in order to placate a hysterical minority, I don't think it's a good idea. It would be playing Roulette and putting your money on "green." A minority of people will tell you that, in theory, it's a money maker. In practice every attempt to land on green that anyone can remember has failed miserably.

    It's not just some grudge against soccer - as soccer fans seem to be eager to play the role of the martyr - I would argue the same thing about supporting any other British sports import that never caught on in the US, like cricket.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    And I still wait for examples of my xenophobic and bigoted statements. You use such emotionally charged words in reference to me, then accuse me of being nasty. Either back up your accusations, remain silent, or expect criticism.

    This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around No time for dancing, or lovey dovey, I ain't got time for that now.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti "No, Frank, you find me a pain because I can differentiate statements that make sense, whether or not I agree with them, and statements that are senseless, unsubstantiated, or self-contradictory.

    Your chosen technique of argument is to characterize your opponent to fit your position while making scant direct and reasonable reply to the sense of what is written.

    If objecting to such shoddy argumentation is "cry[ing] like a little girl", then so be it."

    "Before I conclude that you are either a mentally ill person or an agent of Paulson's soccer enterprise..."

    <hr/>

    Suuuure, whatever you say, Tom.

    I love the evidence you had substantiating...

    <hr/>

    "I still can't understand why anyone would want to watch a soccer match in which one's child isn't playing."

    "Perhaps "xenophobe" is your word-of-the-day, and you wanted to use it in a sentence."

    "But, Bob, Portland will always be perceived as a backwater until we have a major league kickball...I mean, soccer team."

    "Beyond finding out just how long an announcer can extend the enunciation of one syllable - a couple of times per match, if the viewer is lucky - I find nothing whatsoever engaging about the sport."

    "I would hope that such ambiguous ad hominem attacks as yours is not the way we do things here."

    <h2>"I begin to see parallels between soccer fans and religious zealots [now I am talking about people]. They tend to regard all criticism of their beloved beliefs as unpardonable blasphemy."</h2>

    Way to substantiate your arguments, Tom

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Soccer has a slow following for Canadians and Americans because of the fact that the game itself does not lend itself to 'instant gratification' as does other sports do.

    Instant Gratification = High scores, blood and career threatetning injuries.

    However, you have a nice and emerging Spanish speaking population here that adores the game without end, and these are the people we should be looking at for support.

    MLS, or any level of pro soccer, will survive in Portland because the latino population won't let it.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    The day that Phil Knight personally builds a light rail line for the city of Portland is the day I support the City of Portland investing in professional sports.

    Does a library and law school at U of O count? What about a business school down at Stanford? What about a track, football field and gymnasium at Cleveland High? What about $100 million to the OHSU cancer institure?

    Those aren't good enough right?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Frank,

    I do not need to substantiate my dislike of soccer. It is not an argument, it is my taste, which you find objectionable while saying, contradictorily, that you allow others their own opinions.

    And still I wait to see my bigoted and xenophobic statements quoted. Until I can see them and apologize for them, do not expect gentle treatment from me. I quoted the statements of you and others along with my objections to them. I believe my reply to being called a bigot and xenophobe has been quite tempered in the face of such affront.

    Still waiting.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti "Frank, I do not need to substantiate my dislike of soccer. It is not an argument, it is my taste."

    Stated once, Tom, it is your taste. Stated over and over and over again, it is an annoyance.

    To that I replied...

    "That said, your remarks ARE annoying. You ARE a pain in the a$$, and know you're being a pain in the a$$. You're reveling in it."

    When in your next post, you started crying like a little girl for being called an annoying pain in the a$$, I said...

    "No, Tom. You are an annoying pain in the a$$ because you think you have some right to dish out unlimited amounts of abuse to other people without anyone responding in kind, and when someone responds in kind, you cry like a little girl"

    Wait all you like, Tom. Need some Kleenex for your wait?

  • (Show?)

    I don't understand what it is about soccer, a game, that can be so culturally repulsive to some people. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, people develop some sort of sports bigotry that leads them to make ill-informed and factually unsupported claims in the comments.

    MLS is not the NASL. They are two different leagues that operated at two different times in history, and had different business models. Yet people suggest that because the leagues play the same sport, MLS is doomed to fail like the NASL. That is simply a moronic argument to make. Nobody would make a similar comparison with the NFL and the USFL, or the XFL, nor would they say that the AFL (Arena Football) or the UFL (United Football) are the exact same as the NFL. At a broader level, just because Circuit City went out of business, should I assume that Best Buy is necessarily doomed as well? Obviously not. There are plenty of factors that go into the success of a business beside the quality and popularity of the product. If anything, the fact that the NASL failed only increases the MLS's chances for success because they already know what business models will not work. Looking at the facts, current MLS average attendance is several thousand spectators higher than the NASL's peak. It is roughly equivalent to the NBA and NHL, which are much more established leagues.

    Having a MLS team makes sense for Portland. I understand the reluctance to publicly finance a stadium. However, as many people have already noted, Portland already owns PGE Park. Due to the success of MLS, it is looking increasingly difficult for the Timbers to succeed financially without moving up. That leaves us at the risk of losing the tenants for PGE when the lease runs out and leaving the city with the resulting bill. On the other hand, upgrading the park and having a MLS team creates hundreds of construction jobs, jobs with the MLS team, boosts MAX ridership, and is a boon to local businesses.

    I agree with Jeff that this is not a zero-sum game.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Frank,

    I shall summarize:

    I wrote about the boredom of watching soccer - more than once. You found this annoying.

    Someone called me a xenophobe.

    Someone else suggested I made statements that were bigoted and/or homophobic.

    You suggested my objection to this was "cry[ing] like a little girl".

    You believe I am being unreasonable.

    It seems to me you have a cockeyed set of values.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Gail says to Tom C: Now you are suggesting that I am attacking you?

    eh... Gail, words like the small Anti-MLS voice uses a conservative leaning but bogus financial smoke screen as a shill for racist, bigoted, and otherwise discriminatory motivations... are not exactly terms of endearment - or original ('progressives' somehow linking 'racist, bigoted, homophobe' (or assorted variants thereof) with the 'conservative' label at almost every opportunity)

    I've read through the comments here a couple times and find that you - our friendly pure 'progressive' Oregonian unsullied by any trace of racism, bigotry, or discrimination - seem to be the only one diving into that gutter with your allusion to 'foreigners and gays'...

    And the 'small anti-MLS voice'? Seems to me at least the comments here for and against are at best equally divided... if not leaning more towards against.

    And then you have the temerity to term Tom a 'racist' and purveyor of 'hate speech' as your parting shot? (Well, guess we can't accuse you of using a smoke screen for your motivations...) If this is how 'we (Oregonians) do things here' - then count me out.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    “Because of this, I am proposing legislation that will offer a seat at the table to Multnomah County. House Bill 2615 will do the following: Require county approval by counties with a population of at least 300,000 for the establishment of new urban renewal districts; allow urban renewal funds to be used for social services within the urban renewal area; and require an economic viability study for the proposed plan with and without the provision of social services.”

    So here’s the deal so far. We declare the crescent of West Portland between I-405 and the Willamette an URD. This means we take the increase in property tax value (TIF) and use it to pay bonds. This means that increased money will NOT go to schools or roads to Multnomah County or jails. Yes, kids, that is what tax INCREMENT financing means.

    Part of it will also go to build a stadium about 8 miles away from the URD, which I am not seeing how this helps out that URD. While David Douglas getting a new school raises the average IQ in the city, I don’t know if I can say the same about soccer and I am hard-pressed to see how stadia do anything for the city.

    Contrary to what some on this blog are saying URD is a substantial (12% or so) of your property tax bill if you look closely.

    The proposed legislation to allow Multnomah County to have a say in allocating URD money. Who knows they probably would have gone for developing the Pearl District and maybe would have said no to the sucking sound that is SoWa.

    A person of normal intellect would see that taking about 30 years of tax increments might have some effect on revenues to Multnomah County – unless you expect the cost of living to go up 0% over that time. Ergo, since Multnomah County’s ox is being gored, shouldn’t they have some say in what happens?

    For all the “lads” who gotta have a new stadium no matter how bad schools or roads or infrastructure become realize how we are getting here. Is having a stadium really that important to you? I know it means 15 or so afternoons of entertainment, but your priorities are all screwed up. I mean San Jose and KC can play in old stadiums.

    As far a Paulson’s guarantees, I’ll believe it when I see it. The ONLY way he will make his payments is if he makes “enough” profit. Don’t be stupid.

    Moreover, re: the increasing franchise fee for MLS, pull that book out of the library you never read called the dictionary and look up the word Ponzi, spelled P-O-N-Z-I.

    So, to the same 3-4 people who in multiple comments state how wonderful soccer is as their only defense, stop screaming and start thinking about someone else in this town like the taxpayers.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    Garrett:

    So you're saying that if a philanthropist donates money of their own free will, taxpayers will be required to pony-up for their own personal thunderdoom?

    Speaking of giving, do we really need to go down that road with regards to Oregon and Nike? We could start with property tax abatements, low marginal corporate tax rates, and then work our way from there.

  • (Show?)

    "I wrote about the boredom of watching soccer - more than once. You found this annoying."

    I find it irrelevant. Why does your opinion of soccer have one little bit to do with the viability of a franchise here?

  • (Show?)
    So here’s the deal so far. We declare the crescent of West Portland between I-405 and the Willamette an URD. This means we take the increase in property tax value (TIF) and use it to pay bonds. This means that increased money will NOT go to schools or roads to Multnomah County or jails. Yes, kids, that is what tax INCREMENT financing means.

    I'm no expert on URDs, but if there is only to be a URD in that area to help fund PGE's conversion--how does it take any money away from anything? Without the project, it doesn't exist! And isn't there in fact the possibility that it would ENHANCE the bottom line for the county, by increasing property tax revenue from ancillary development and value increase if successful, such that there would be additional revenue beyond what's needed to fund the park?

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    Nick Kahl, bravo for sponsoring this bill. The MLS fiasco has made this a hot-button issue with the public. Now is a great time to deal with this.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    torridjoe wrote:

    I find it irrelevant. Why does your opinion of soccer have one little bit to do with the viability of a franchise here?

    It does only if it is a common enough attitude to prevent sufficient attendance at home games and viewership on television. Perhaps I am one of the few Portlanders who does not enjoy watching the game. Perhaps Portland will become known as ScooooooooooooooooooooreCity.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    torridjoe wrote:

    And isn't there in fact the possibility that it would ENHANCE the bottom line for the county, by increasing property tax revenue from ancillary development and value increase if successful, such that there would be additional revenue beyond what's needed to fund the park?

    That is a possibility that proponents would want to highlight by providing studies of the impact of TIF for stadium renovation in other cities. Has anyone seen this?

  • (Show?)

    "It does only if it is a common enough attitude to prevent sufficient attendance at home games and viewership on television."

    ...which you'd have to agree would be best determined by a process not likely to simply involve asking what Tom C thinks, right? ;)

  • Dalrymple (unverified)
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    How can they even talk about "cost over-runs" if they haven't picked a development location for the AAA baseball stadium or commissioned a design?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    That's correct, TJ. Proponents might want to reply to complaints that watching soccer is a bore with a study of how many Portlanders say they are willing to buy MLS tickets and studies of such polls in other cities compared to how many tickets were actually sold once the franchise was on the field.

    Think of my criticisms as bits of irritating sand. Let's see if soccer proponents produce some pearls of information.

  • (Show?)

    So according to Representative Kahl, he has no problem with Portland making a strong bid to join MLS, just as long as the City can continue to take money from Paulson that NOONE is obligated to pay, in return for which they don't have to lift a finger to help?

    Awesome. That's the Community Spirit! We're all in this together! Except for the sportos and the soccerheads, I guess.

    I'm sure glad all these pols were around back in the day to keep Portland from suffering from the scourge of evil, riderless light rail. Remember that? Gee, all the closet Repubs were sure right about that - who would want to read the Willamette Week on the way to work when they could have the freedom to sit in traffic on the Banfield!

    Get it done, Portland. This is a good deal, and frankly, the Timbers Army deserves it for all of the crap they've had to put up with over the years. That building can't survive on feral cats and Central Catholic football alone.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    John Dunagan,

    Just how do you equate the value of light rail transit with that of major league soccer? Or do you believe all proposed government actions should be supported in the name of community spirit?

    And, given a choice between what the "Timbers army" deserves and keeping health clinics open and public health officers on duty, I'd opt for continued soccer fan frustration.

  • (Show?)

    Hi, Tom!

    But I'm not being forced to make such a choice. I'm for both. And it sounds to me like we can have both.

    As for light rail's similarity to Portland's soccer community moving to the top stage, I'm comparing the NIMBYs I remember coming out in opposition to both, and suggesting that they're equally wrong.

    Besides, doesn't Portland lead the nation in depression, or something like that? Timbers matches could help alleviate that.

    Get it done, Portland!

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti "John Dunagan... Just how do you equate the value of light rail transit with that of major league soccer? Or do you believe all proposed government actions should be supported in the name of community spirit?

    And, given a choice between what the "Timbers army" deserves and keeping health clinics open and public health officers on duty, I'd opt for continued soccer fan frustration."

    Can't spend URH money on health care. or schools.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    KOIN 6 reporting on air that a deal has been reached on MLS to PDX, and will be announced Weds.

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    The MLS sock-puppeting is really annoying Gail. Not wanting to give $85 million to Merritt Paulson is not "NIMBY." Comments that amount to dragging your fingernails across the chalkboard aren't going to convert anyone, it's just rude.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Frank wrote:

    Can't spend URH money on health care. or schools.

    Take a look at the projecting revenue shortfall for Multnomah County for this and the next biennium. Proposals call for total elimination of some vital services in mental health and drug and alcohol dependence treatment, and big cuts across the board. A new urban renewal district will divert even more revenue from county social services to stadium debt service.

    So, it does seem healthcare funds can be spent on a sports stadium.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    JerryB "The MLS sock-puppeting is really annoying Gail. Not wanting to give $85 million to Merritt Paulson is not "NIMBY.""

    Some of it is. This was put on the last MLS to PDX thread yesterday...

    "Posted by: YoungOregonMoonbat | Mar 8, 2009 10:53:28 PM

    I have thought of 1 benefit for MLS in Portland, OR:

    1. On the day MLS plays, US Immigration and Customes Enforcement (ICE) will know where the largest concentration of illegal aliens will be on that given day.

    If I was an ICE officer with a single police cruiser, I would be rounding up 3 per every half an hour, sending them down to the Central Precinct for processing, rinse and repeat.

    I am all for MLS so long as it means putting lawbreakers in the same place at the same time.

    Line 'em up, round 'em up, and send them home baby! LOL"

    http://www.blueoregon.com/2009/03/why-progressives-should-support-the-mls-to-pdx-proposal/comments/page/3/#comments

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)
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    Frank,

    I see that, and I stand by what I said. Apparently, Jeff Alworth is backing up that statement by saying that soccer is a "low end sport." Good, make it low end enough so they all come. LOL.

    Unlike you and many others, I am not afraid to be called a racist or xenophobe. I admit I do have my prejudices.

    You want to continue your little progressive gangbang here or will you show some nuts and come verbally joust over at Jack Bog's Blog where I and many others will roast your pile of unsubstantiated dung?

    I can do it either way, but I pick my fights son.

  • (Show?)

    I don't think that people outside of inner Portland get how much these Urban Renewal Districts have hurt other areas of the county as well as Portland's school districts.

    Every time Portland creates a new URD, the county has less dollars for services. That means east county doesn't get the court services it has been promised for decades, people in eastern Portland (real east Portland, as in east of 82nd, not just east of the River) lose health care services, etc.

    If Portland is going to create URDs that cause that much of an issue at the county level, why can't they have a seat at the table where those decisions are made?

    Why should a low income person in Rockwood lose health care services, or Corbett lose sheriff patrols, or Gresham not get adequate court services as required by law just so that MLS can come to town? Or that someone in a $1M+ condo pays less taxes than someone with a modest home in east Portland?

    I definitely think it's time for this process to change. Out here in east county we don't get to elect the people making those decisions that affect service levels out in our area. This will help us have a voice at the table.

    Thank you to my representative, Rep. Kahl, for doing something about this. It may not be the 100% best solution (which is quite common since you have to bring forward something that will make it to a vote), but it is a huge step in the right direction. It can be altered and expanded as we see how it works in the larger areas.

  • (Show?)

    Also, can we get back to the discussion at hand - the funding? There is another discussion where you can beat each other up about how many people go to see it, whether it brings in a lot of spectators, or whatever.

    It would be great if we could talk about what Rep. Kahl had to say instead of fighting over soccer.

  • Cafe Today (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It's so amazing how worked up people get over this issue.

    Get over it, people. Go spend your time on something else, like emailing your state rep and ccing the other 59 house members to complain about having your pit bull taken away.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "I'm no expert on URDs, but if there is only to be a URD in that area to help fund PGE's conversion--how does it take any money away from anything?"

    OK, I'll go slow, the URD relies on INCREASES in property tax values to pay for the bonds. These INCREASES will not go to normal prop tax things like police, schools or your salary. So effectively we've put a cap on that part of twon for revenue from prop taxes.

    "KOIN 6 reporting on air that a deal has been reached on MLS to PDX, and will be announced Weds."

    Oh goody, more lies. First we get the whopper from Paulson that there will be 300 new jobs, then this. People think a little. If he has a USL franchise and AAA baseball team before (lets say with 200 employees), you are telling me he will hire 300 more once he has a MLS franchise and a AAA baseball team?

    I guess Mayor McLiar is not the only person with his pants on fire.

  • Garrett (unverified)
    (Show?)

    And, given a choice between what the "Timbers army" deserves and keeping health clinics open and public health officers on duty, I'd opt for continued soccer fan frustration.

    Thats nice Tom. You are aware this money can't be spent on those things legally right? You're also aware that the bonds in question are less than 1% of the city's annual budget right? So tell me how .5% of the city's budget is going to reform health care in America?

    I'd be a lot more respectful of arguments that just admitted they don't like soccer and they'd rather spend the money on an MLB stadium or Convention Center Hotel. At least they'd pony up their true arguments.

    Whatever...I just spent the last 3 hours with Blazer fans watching what sports means to Portland. A tiny little place packed to the brim full of people cheering their team on. I know what the benefits are outside of the money issue.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Moonbat "Unlike you and many others, I am not afraid to be called a racist or xenophobe."

    That's good, Moonbat. I imagine it happens quite regularly.

    I'm not gonna bother wasting any significant energy on the likes of you. You'll make a more than enough of a mess of your life without the need of outside help. We'll see Moonbat soon enough in something like this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_quStvTNynI

    Moonbat's 15 minutes will be achieved staring in an episode of World's Dumbest Criminals.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    My god, tell me you're not really this thick:

    Thats nice Tom. You are aware this money can't be spent on those things legally right? You're also aware that the bonds in question are less than 1% of the city's annual budget right? So tell me how .5% of the city's budget is going to reform health care in America?

    Once again: when tax increment financing is put in place, all the jurisdictions give up all the incremental tax increases resulting from increased property values in the district.

    In other words, taxing jurisdictions like the County take it in the shorts when the city puts part of its property into an urban renewal district because the county's take from that land is frozen -- all property value increases are captured for the urban renewal project.

    That means that even appreciation resulting from nothing more than general inflation costs the county money -- its costs go up (payroll, etc.) but its take from the URD is fixed. So, yes, despite the fact that the URD cannot write checks for those things, putting an URD in place means that all other competing uses get the shaft. (Gail, can I say "get the shaft" or is that to heterosexist/homophobic?)

    I'd be a lot more respectful of arguments that just admitted they don't like soccer and they'd rather spend the money on an MLB stadium or Convention Center Hotel. At least they'd pony up their true arguments.

    And I'd be a lot more respectful of arguments if they came from someone who bothered to try to understand what other people were saying, rather than just projecting positions onto them and getting it wrong. The "true argument" is that, while soccer may be wonderful, there is a long and well documented history of American cities getting screwed by big league sports promoters/owners, who inevitably have the support of the local media and the local pols (but who all refuse to level with people about the costs).

    You could read "Field of Schemes" or spend a few days at fieldofschemes.com reading over the studies on all this.

    Whatever...I just spent the last 3 hours with Blazer fans watching what sports means to Portland. A tiny little place packed to the brim full of people cheering their team on. I know what the benefits are outside of the money issue.

    Great, I hear it was a good game. I don't know of anyone who objects to pro soccer in Portland outside of the money issue; like me, most of the people objecting like soccer, or at worst they are apathetic about it. The only people who think you must hate soccer if you don't want to pour a bunch of public money into Paulson's pocket by building facilities for him are the people who are too crazed with desire to have the deal go through to actually consider it on its merits.

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    We do a significant disservice to the discussion and to each other by resorting to name calling or simply lining up behind the banners of liking or not liking soccer. In the near 250 comments made to both columns on this issue, only ONE poster has even alluded to a significant area in the geographical gymnastics of all this: Lents Neighborhood.

    As one of the 2 options for a relocated AAA ballpark, Lents is getting as neglected by Blue Oregoneers as it has been historically by the City. I'm not sure that dumping the a AAA stadium in Lents park.....

    whoa... so now the Lents option is dead:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2009/03/major_league_soccer_deal_reach.html

    .. and it is very fitting to ponder the question of what is and isn't Urban Renewal. The Memorial Coliseum area is no more "blighted" than the PGE/Civic Stadium area. Businesses at the Rose Quarter just aren't making enough money to sustain themselves. (It doesn't take a business degree to figure out why they have a problem - ever try to park near there?)

    Here's from the article:

    The city also would contribute about $15 million through a new urban renewal area that would include much of the west side of downtown Portland. The city hasn't formed the renewal area yet, but it's in the works. The money would come from taxes on rising property values in the area.

    Another $18.5 million would come from the Oregon Convention Center urban renewal area, which has a $26 million surplus.

    ... um, is it just me or is there something ironic about the an urban renewal area being funded by its own rising property values?!

    At any rate, check out the linked article. City Council is scheduled to vote on this thing Wed. Adams and Leonard are for it; Fritz, Fish and Saltzman uncommitted.

    My apologies for the herky-jerky post as I researched new info... but maybe that is kind of telling about this whole project...

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "You are aware this money can't be spent on those things legally right? You're also aware that the bonds in question are less than 1% of the city's annual budget right?"

    You must be kidding? The money can't be spent on anything else because the TIF in place keeps it from going into the prop tax pool. It keeps any increase in the URD rev from going to schools, roads or police. That is why it is called tax INCREMENT financing. You effectively put a cap on revenues from the URD.

    I don't know where you get the 1% number from (perhaps the affinity for 1-0 soccer scores?), but CoP has a ton of debt for about every new struture in town plus it owes teh PFDR about $2B for unfunded liabilities.

    If your going to throw numbers around, at least check out your facts or give some reference.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Posted by: Tom Civiletti | Mar 9, 2009 10:02:51 AM

    I still can't understand why anyone would want to watch a soccer match in which one's child isn't playing.

    I read that and thought, omg, I totally agree with TC. Then I saw the flack. How does it look from this side? It's amazing how the naked emperors admirers double as security.

    In answer to the question, commuting to England regularly I wondered this. Suffice to say none of the possible answers would exactly cover the sport in glory. One element has to be that it is deadly boring. I am a Test cricket fanatic, which most normal people find as boring as it gets, and I lived a while in Holland, so it's not like I haven't seen the top flight and ambiance, but it still just doesn't work for me.

    It might be an interesting idea, on a new thread, to discuss multiple usage scenarios for this stadium. Minor league baseball, cricket, aussie rules football, ultimate, could all be candidates, no? Now THAT would be Portland and it would not just sell, but sell our best characteristic.

    Keep Portland weird? Only for the mainstream. Make Portland weirder!

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Garrett,

    If you had read a bit more, you would have seen explanations from me and others of how a new URD would reduce the revenue Multnomah County would have. This revenue pays for the services provided by the county, including healthcare and public health. this has nothing to do with the city of Portland budget. The county is a separate governmental entity, yet the city can create an URD without county approval. Thus, we have HB2615, the topic of this thread.

    Also, if you read a bit more, you would see that I stated several times [to the annoyance of another commenter] that I do not enjoy watching soccer. Does that make you feel more respectful?

  • TimberJim (unverified)
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    If we ever get invaded, I hope pussies like Gail don't fight alongside us. She is wacko!!

  • jhbjr (unverified)
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    Shame on all of us for wasting a moment talking about public funding for soccer in the midst of this economic crisis. The MLS may or may not be there in 5 or 10 years. The time crunch here is entirely artificial. If Paulson wants it now, then by all means write a check. Otherwise, let's focus on the real issues of the day. We have a perfectly good soccer team already.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Man, looking at the posting volume by topic... BO management had better hope, for the sake of their bandwidth and capacity, that the Mayor never kisses a guy at PGE park! Quadruple tostadas!!!

  • TimberJim (unverified)
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    Zarathustra

    Heaven forbid people have an opinion on a $100 million dollar project here in the city.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Read the Oregonian this morning

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/financing_may_trip_up_deal_to.html

    The central argument here is Portlan's historical agressive use of URD's in areas that they were not intended. Use of URD's to renovate one satdium and build another one takes tax dollars away from basic infrastructure, social services and public education outside that URD.

    This really isn't about soccer, however it is interesting to note that the MLS marquee player (Beckham will now not be available to LA Galaxy until mid July. He has decided to pay out of his own pocket to stay with Inter Milan until the end of their season. One immediate result is Galaxy reducing ticket prices by 10% for the season.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Question to all---do you think it's appropriate to use an URD claim on PGE Park in order to generate the funds needed to bring MSL to Portland? Do you think this is the way URDs should be used?

    PLEASE NOTE---I DO NOT CARE if you like soccer or not. I'm talking about whether or not this is an appropriate way to use URDs to you. Several have made clear their take on the use of URDs, but most on this thread have simply been arguing the merits, or lack thereof, of MSL. Let's talk about funding, our tax dollars and how they should or should not be used. And I'd like to hear from everyone because I respect the opinions and intelligence displayed by most people on this board.

    So---URDs---what is their appropriate use in your opinion?

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    @ Ms. Harmon: I think urban renewal districts need to be used VERY cautiously, if ever.

    In many cities, urban renewal meant "black removal," where areas that had suffered from institutional and local racism (redlining, including by the FHA/VA, etc.; neglect from the local power structure) were targeted for "urban renewal" that generally meant running a freeway down the middle, getting rid of housing and services for lower income folks, and letting well-connected power brokers cash in big.

    The theory of urban renewal is that investments that drive up property values can be paid for from the tax revenues those increased property values throw off. The problem is, as in Portland, there isn't just one government; there are many, all taxing the same properties. (I think the single property tax bill creates a problem here -- most people are totally unaware of the multiplicity of jurisdictions that each get a slice of their property tax.)

    If URDs were formed such that the municipal jurisdiction only designated its OWN slice of the increased tax base, AND they pulled out the general increase in property values averaged over the whole jurisdiction, then URDs might be worthwhile. But, instead, we have this insane system where Portland city council members can slash future tax receipts for all the other jurisdictions by dedicating ALL of any increased revenues from the URD to its pet projects; moreover, the calculation attributes ALL of the increased property values to the investments -- failing to note that many "improvements" aren't, and don't actually contribute to an increase in value.

    Say Portland creates the URD for the soccer thing. Not only is some pretty choice property dumped into a URD, meaning that any property value increases don't benefit the other districts even as their costs rise (the major ones being the county and the schools), but there's no mechanism for evaluating the effect of the "investment" (the sports facilities) on the property values in the URD --- so even if property values increase 10% generally all over the city (on average) simply due to inflation, and there's only a 5% increase within the URD, the URD scheme turns this REDUCED appreciation within the URD into a win for the scheme (property values went up, must be because of the sports facilities) and hoses the other districts relying on the property tax.

    Like so many things, the URD idea is potentially good until it gets into the hands of weasels. If you truly have an area of widespread blight, a URD is a way for a cash-strapped city to raise the capital needed to invest in that blighted area now to attempt to reverse the problem. But the other taxing jurisdictions ought to have to agree (or be able to withdraw from participation) and there needs to be a correction applied to the increased value so that the URD doesn't get to take credit for the general appreciation. Then investors would be much more careful about making sure that ideas being sold under the URD banner actually had merit.

    That's a general take on it. In the particular case, the soccer thing is a great example of weasels using URD financing the way a crackhead uses a credit card.

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    "Question to all---do you think it's appropriate to use an URD claim on PGE Park in order to generate the funds needed to bring MSL to Portland? Do you think this is the way URDs should be used?"

    Why not? There's no logical reason to limit strictly blighted areas; the point is simply to promote economic development projects that may energize the area in question.

    And it should be said that PPS reps said twice they're not opposed to the use of URDs on principle.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    @ torridjoe: "Why not? There's no logical reason to limit strictly blighted areas; the point is simply to promote economic development projects that may energize the area in question."

    Why not indeed? How about addressing the issues I noted above (which are far from the only issues with URD funding):

    -- it cuts tax receipts for other special purpose districts while giving those districts no say and no way to protect themselves;

    -- it assigns all property value increases in the URD to the bonded project even when that project actually HURTS property values or was irrelevant to the valuation increase (See: Detroit, Renaissance Center, e.g.).

    -- it's a form of credit card spending that assumes enhanced revenue in the future. What if property values DECLINE and there are no increased property values to capture for the URD. Paulson claims to be backstopping them, but Paulson is hiding behind an LLC -- LIMITED LIABILITY in other words. Where are the assets that could be seized to satisfy these debts if Great Recession 2.0 continues? A mortgage on an empty stadium is worthless --- so what property is Paulson willing to pledge?

  • (Show?)

    Council has passed the proposal--but without the $15mil committment from the PGE URA. So either they find another funding source, reach agreement on the URA--or it's dead anyway.

    Stay tuned...I'll have a fair bit more at LoadedO over the next few hours.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Posted by: TimberJim | Mar 11, 2009 9:11:46 AM

    Zarathustra

    Heaven forbid people have an opinion on a $100 million dollar project here in the city.

    I left the wrong impression. I think this is great. I wish other things got as much attention.

  • (Show?)

    George, the City will own the stadia. Paulson's commitment is not his LLC's; it is a guarantee of his personal finances, and of his familiy's. Should he breach, he would simply be sued and assets attached. He would be unable to raise a defense in court against it, according to the agreement, although he could severally countersue for breach of contract. His only out is personal bamkruptcy. Not bloody likely.

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    Where is this foolproof guarantee in writing Joe?

  • (Show?)

    In the business agreement adopted by Council? :shrug: Is that a trick question?

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    @ TorridJoe: "His only out is personal bamkruptcy.[sic] Not bloody likely."

    You mean he couldn't declare bankruptcy like Jon Harder of Sunwest, who ran a huge nursing home empire through lots of little LLCs and borrowed billions (with a b) and has since declared bankruptcy?? No, that could NEVER happen in America. (Dream on.)

    Funny, now that the URD is supposedly off the table, there's a $15M hole in the scheme -- now tell me again how taxpayers weren't going to be funding this thing?! One minute, when the taxpayers are on the hook, there's no $15M hole; when Wheeler gets the URD part removed, suddenly the plan is $15M short. Seems like the taxpayers were being asked to carry $15M to me.

  • (Show?)

    What? No, there's no provision for general funds. And the URA isn't even out of the picture yet; if you watched the hearing the amendment was treated as a way to almost have a do over with Multno and PPS. The URA wasn't going to be created today anyway; it's a battle that was going to be fought next anyway. The call was to give those players a full seat or sense of inclusion in the process.

    Interestingly, the PPS rep said they were not opposed to URDs, but wanted to see some more reassuring numbers about what the actual impact on revenue was going to be. More interesting was the rep from Goose Hollow NA, who welcomed the designation and described the area as in serious need of economic investment.

    The Blazers guy was weird and almost compelling, until Randy busted him by saying dude--your own drawings have the stadium on the Coliseum site...WTF are you acting shocked for now? Still it seems Ms. Fritz bought their marketing prospectus, while remaining skeptical of Paulson's.

  • (Show?)

    As for bankruptcy based on scamming or incompetent--both teams are much better run than before, and for a scammed he seems awfully willing to front $50+ million dollars in a down economy. Maybe for Yankee Stadium you front that much for a return, but no con man puts down liquid funds when he's not even going to own either property he's financing?

    He's not an idiot and he's not on the take--maybe he actually thinks it's a mutually beneficial partnership. It's socialization of reward (2 stadia; major short term stimulus, cultural intangibles) and privatized risk. Have you ever heard of an owner who says yeah, even if the team fails or the league folds through no fault of my own, I'll pay the debt back out of my pocket? And if the price of steel triples, i'll cover that too. Leonard deserves a lot if credit IMO. He's wrangled an extraordinary deal for the City. Whether the City's cost irrespective of the benefits is too high, is for reasonable debate. But anyone who says this is a lousy deal is nuts.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Gail,

    Why do you repost your inaccurate and scurrilous comments about me? Who are you, anyway, and what is your agenda? I cannot even figure out to what comments of mine you refer. Since I am posting under my real name, I am not amused by your anonymous, albeit ambiguous slander.

    Yes, you are indeed attacking me!

  • rlw (unverified)
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    Somehow, the spectre of MLS, bonds, focusing our energy and resources upon sports and entertainment as our way out does not strike me as serious-minded nor far-sighted. I travel the streets daily looking fully upon the homeless, and I can promise you they are not all junkies and masturbators. At this time, serious-minded visionaries need to be hard at work inspiring the many hands and pockets to be about serious-minded development tasks.

    I love soccer. But this does not mean that I shall devote my time and money to THAT as a way to address the continued economic bleedout of my natal state.

  • rlw (unverified)
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    ps. Mr Adams? I am the citizen who finally called and emailed OPB and, through gritted teeth, told them to STOP that shit about "sex scandal!", "SEX scandaL!!", "SEEEEEXXXXXX SCANNNNDALLLLL!" at the top of every hour for weeks on end. I found it to be terribly homophobic and trite. I feel somehow sure that plenty of heterosexuals are leaping in and out of ... erm.. POLITICS who could well earn this phrase appended to their own names, but who are not. The rules of the game are that you will probably be made to pay if you have something to hide in puritanical/prohibitionist America - and you hide it. Buck up, gents, that is the price you will pay if you want to be in politics. Know that your stuff will come out. But Oregon media really went mornically lowbrow about it.

    I felt they begged off of seriously talking about how lying to us for the sake of getting into office was the issue, not the WHAT you lied about. That the effects this now will have upon your office' efficacy as a disciplinary entity - THAT is what they should capsulize at the top of the hour.

    I was for ya, buddy. I was really mean to a few folks, indeed. I doubt it was my voice alone, but they stopped it. After that first couple of hours of broadcast, I sure wasn't hearing that crap anymore. I have been really excited to see your face in office, Mr. Adams, Sir. Right up to when you got on TV, breathlessly excited about MLS.

    That's when you lost me. Permanently, I think.

    You really don't get it, Sam. You just. don't. seem. to get it.

    This is not the time to take ANY of MY money to pay for bread, bear fights, circuses.

  • (Show?)

    "Right up to when you got on TV, breathlessly excited about MLS.

    That's when you lost me. Permanently, I think.

    You really don't get it, Sam. You just. don't. seem. to get it."

    What doesn't he get? He just pulled off a major coup on a strong deal for the City that walls off the general fund and limits risk incredibly. He helped engineer a commitment to 600 immediate well paying construction jobs, a local stimulus no one can deny is desperately needed. He's spent the last few weeks in common cause with someone who'd openly shunned him a month ago, and came out on top together. He appeared in front of a live TV audience and was cheered, and no one asked him how he could do his job when he was so distracted.

    Have you read the deal? I wish my house were as well insulated as the City is on that one. One and a half new stadia, owned by the city for bonds that are guaranteed no matter what, and a max of $2.5mil in fudge money necessary for overruns? The progressive city of Vancouver, which some NWers look up to for being a model city in smart leadership, also got a team for 2011. Know how much their city is paying? $250mil US. Do they have a guarantee that their bonds will be paid off? Nope. Are they on the hook for overruns? Yep.

    <h2>The bread and circuses line is framed on a false choice. This doesn't sap city or county services, net.</h2>
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