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Bevos, city close to final funding proposal for new ballpark

The Portland Beavers ownership and city officials are close to a final new-ballpark funding proposal that would divert urban-renewal housing funds to the project.The Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ownership and city officials are close to a final new-ballpark funding proposal that would divert urban-renewal housing funds to the project.

The new plan calls for the ballpark to be built in the Lents area of Portland, far from the urban center where PGE Park stands. The price of the ballpark has been decreased to $49 million, and the current proposal calls for about 80 percent of that to come from urban-renewal funds currently slated for housing in the Lents area. These funds are generated by property taxes, but the ballpark isn’t expected to actually raise any more money that’s coming in — which means existing commitments must be scaled back.

That diversion is bound to raise some concerns among Portland City Council members, who must sign off on the plan. Affordable housing is a big issue in the Rose City, and diverting housing money to a new sports facility will be controversial, to say the least.

The other issue is putting the ballpark in Lents, dubbed Felony Flats by some city residents. It’s not exactly the best part of town, and while a new ballpark will be served by mass transit, the location is far less convenient than PGE Park’s downtown site.

Finally, we’re expecting some on the City Council to question why Beavers owner Merritt Paulson is scaling back his financial commitment to the project. In past ballpark proposals Paulson has committed at least $12.5 million plus coverage of cost overruns. For the Lents project, he’s committing $9 million, and the two sides are negotiating cost overruns. Paulson has said he expects to make less money at Lents than he would have at the Rose Garden site — but his apparent lack of enthusiasm for the Lents sites should be a gigantic red flag to Portland officials and residents.

RELATED STORIES: Rose Quarter location officially off the table for new Bevos ballparkBevos ballpark plans back up in the air — and maybe doomed; Portland ballpark vote delayed as mayor adjusts site, financial plans; New Beavers ballpark wouldn’t happen until 2012 — at the earliest; Cost of Portland redevelopment mushrooms to almost $300 million; Crunching the numbers on a new Bevos ballpark; Portland proposes tearing down Memorial Coliseum for new Bevos ballpark; Portland City Council votes to move ahead with new Bevos ballpark — but takes $15 million from the equation; Paulson agrees to Portland’s financial demands; still may not be enough; Bevos ballpark plan runs into serious financial obstacles; Portland task force gives preliminary approval to new Bevos ballpark — with plenty of conditions; Portland ballpark discussion shifts to Rose Quarter; Decision on new Bevos ballpark location delayed; Will new ballpark fly in Lents?

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