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July 11, 2009

Paulson, Portland push new Timbers plan

The $15 million hole in Merritt Paulson's $31 million soccer stadium plan has been filled, the Portland Timbers owner and city officials announced yesterday. Under the new plan, Paulson would pay $8 million in cash, and prepay $11.1 million in rent and ticket taxes; the city, meanwhile, would kick in $11.2 million in future tax revenue, plus a $700,000 development tax break.

So who would actually end up paying the $31 mil to convert PGE Park to soccer-only? It's hard to say — if the previous plan was confusing, the new one is if anything more so: The $11.1 million in prepayments by Paulson, in particular, looks more like a loan than a private expense. The key point here, though, seems to be that this plan avoids using urban renewal money, which was a no-go with some city commissioners; since Paulson has already ditched the more-controversial minor-league baseball stadium plan for the time being, he seems to have given himself a leg up on getting the soccer deal done. We'll know more in two weeks, when the council has to vote on the new financing package.


The $11m in "future tax revenues" is from the spectator facilities fund - in other words, it's from ticket taxes.

My understanding is that the only direct city contributions are the $700k development tax break, and the city will cover the first $1m of any cost overruns.

To me it looks like he finally just said the heck with it, I'll go with a path of least resistance (on the soccer side) and tone down the remodeling cost.

Posted by Greg on July 12, 2009 05:45 PM

The $11m is still public money, though. If it's spent on a soccer stadium, that means the Spectator Facilities Fund will either have less to spend on other projects, or will have to be shored up with revenues from other sources.

Posted by Neil on July 14, 2009 05:24 AM

Yes, they haven't mentioned how it is projected to effect the fund's balance. Ticket taxes from soccer will go into the SFF, but bond repayment will deplete it. The fund currently has a $6m balance according to a report on

Posted by Greg on July 14, 2009 09:08 AM

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