Top Menu

Paulson withdraws request for Bevos ballpark in Lents

Portland Beavers owner Merritt Paulson withdraws his proposal for a new ballpark in the Lents area of Portland, as community members rise in opposition to the plan and city leaders question whether a new ballpark is needed at all.

Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) owner Merritt Paulson has withdrawn his proposal for a new ballpark in the Lents area of Portland, as community members rise in opposition to the plan and city leaders question whether a new ballpark is needed at all.

The opposition to the city diverting $43 million in community-development funds toward a new Bevos ballpark was pretty intense, if the July 18 meeting of the Lents Urban Renewal Advisory Committee was any indication. Of the 41 speakers, two were for the ballpark, one was neutral, and the rest opposed. Faced with such adamant opposition, the committee was sure to come out against the proposal — ensuring City Councilman Dan Saltzman, the swing vote on the five-person council, would have opposed it as well.

So Paulson withdrew the plan. You can read his letter to Mayor Sam Adams here.

The other factor now in play: whether the Beavers need a new ballpark at all. Paulson has maintained MLS has put a soccer-only facility as a condition of landing a pro-soccer franchise for Portland; hence the need to renovate PGE Park. But we've heard consistently from MLS officials that the condition is not iron-clad and that some sort of hybrid facility could work — as in the case of Seattle, the poster child for MLS expansion these days. The Sounders play at Qwest Field — sharing it with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, playing on artificial turf — and are the hit of the league. So the experience with Seattle says the insistence on a soccer-only facility could bent, for the right market.

We said it Wednesday and we'll say it again: don't look for Paulson to announce a move to Vancouver the suburb or Vancouver the large city. Instead, look for the announcement of a magic PGE Park renovation plan that allows for MLS soccer and the continued operations of the Beavers in a historic facility. Not the worst plan in the world, really.

RELATED STORIES: Portland to move ahead with soccer renovation, put off plans for Bevos ballpark; Thursday vote could determine Bevos ballpark fate; New Beavers ballpark lacks support on City Council; Bevos, city close to final funding proposal for new ballpark; 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?

Subscribers to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter see articles, such as this one, before they're posted to the site. You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.

Join Ballpark Digest on Facebook and on Twitter!