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June 19, 2009
Portland: We'll do MLS stadium with or without baseball
Hours before more than 100 people rallied in protest of a Portland Beavers minor-league baseball stadium in their neighborhood of Lents, Mayor Sam Adams and city commissioner Randy Leonard threw the project under the bus, declaring that they'll back converting PGE Park for soccer for the expansion Timbers regardless of whether the Beavers get a new home. This likely means the Timbers deal will get done — commissioner Dan Saltzman, the swing vote on the city council, has opposed the soccer stadium because of concerns about the baseball plans — but also could mean the Beavers would have to move if the Lents stadium plan falls through: "I don't see another option," said Mayor Adams.
Of course, there's always the much-discussed option of having the Timbers and Beavers share digs at PGE, saving millions of dollars on building duplicate facilities. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said he doesn't want to do that, but he's going to say that, obviously — he has no incentive to shack up with a baseball team if he doesn't want to. The only way to test whether he'd actually rescind the Timbers franchise rather than share space is to make the demand and see what happens. Not that Mayor Adams is likely to do that, but you don't get if you don't ask...