Those concerns over saving Memorial Coliseum have led to another delay in the Portland Timbers stadium vote: Portland mayor Sam Adams and team owner Merritt Paulson agreed yesterday to indefinitely delay the city council vote until a site has been worked out for a new minor-league baseball stadium that won’t require razing the coliseum. The city tried to see if it could squeeze in a stadium just north of the coliseum (“It won’t fit,” said the mayor); it’s now revisiting the idea of building it in Lents Park in residential Southeast Portland, something that was floated earlier and rejected in favor of a downtown location.
The delay is apparently an attempt to placate city commissioner Dan Saltzman — if you’re wondering why members of the Portland city council are called “commissioners,” yeah, me too — who is the swing vote required to approve the $88.8 million deal. Unlike some other swing votes, though, Saltzman isn’t asking for cash, and isn’t even dead opposed to knocking down the coliseum if it comes to that: “If I’m going to make a decision to demolish the coliseum, I’d like to do that knowing there’s been some process to look at the options,” he told The Oregonian.
Meanwhile, Paulson levied the most direct threat yet if the stadium deal doesn’t get done, saying, “If we come to September and we don’t have a deal in place, then we’re not going to have Major League Soccer in Portland.” We’ll see if he’s any more serious about that than some other sports team owners.