Field of Schemes
sports stadium news and analysis


This is an archived version of a Field of Schemes article. Comments on this page are closed. To find the current version of the article with updated comments, click here.

March 10, 2009

Portland soccer deal reached, headed to council

The soccer stadium standoff in Portland is over, with would-be MLS expansion team owner Merritt Paulson and city officials agreeing on an $88.8 million plan to renovate the city's existing minor-league baseball stadium for soccer, while building a new baseball-only park as well. The deal, which now goes to the Portland city council for approval, uses a hodge-podge of funding sources to get to $88.8 million:

  • $24.3 million from Paulson himself, though he may seek to recoup some of that from public sources, such as $5 million in player income-tax kickbacks from the state.
  • $31 million in rent payments, ticket taxes, and hotel and rental-car taxes in the city's arena district.
  • $15 million in kickbacks of increased property taxes from a downtown tax-increment financing district.
  • $18.5 million in public urban renewal funds.

Depending on how some of these are broken down, then, it looks like anywhere from 38%-50% public money, which is better than some deals, certainly, though not necessarily better than a carrot. To help form your own opinion, you can read the arguments by political consultant Jeremy Wright, who thinks it's a worthwhile investment in public infrastructure, and Oregon state representative Nick Kahl, who thinks it's a misuse of urban renewal money.

Latest News Items