Portland Beavers owner Merritt Paulson and the city of Portland have finalized an agreement to convert PGE Park to a full-time MLS soccer facility. What will become of the Bevos?
Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) owner Merritt Paulson and the city of Portland have finalized a $31-million agreement to convert PGE Park to a full-time soccer facility by the 2011 MLS season.
So that begs the big question: What will become of the Bevos?
From what we're told, Paulson and the city will continue to work on a potential ballpark site and funding plan; at this time there are no plans to move the team. But building a new home for the Beavers will take a year or so, and we're already bumping against any 2011 ballpark opening being done on a very tight schedule. Plus, it's not as though there are any ballparks in the greater Portland area that could be pressed into service as a temporary Beavers home. Given all of this, it's pretty clear there's the very real chance the Beavers will be playing somewhere else in 2011.
A PDF detailing the deal is attached to this article; click on the link at the bottom of this page.
Here's the announcement from Mayor Sam Adams:
The City today reached a final agreement with Peregrine, LLC to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to Portland and renovate PGE Park. This effort will bring immediate construction jobs to Portland and continuing revenue, visitors and vital spending to Portland’s central city in the long term. I’m confident that this agreement will serve Portlanders now and for years to come. We will put construction workers back to work right away, and in the long-term, MLS represents a smart investment in Portland’s future success. Building on the Northwest’s long-standing soccer heritage, we can bring Portlanders together around another great sports team.
The public-private partnership exemplifies the City’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship in the business community, while better shielding its residents from financial risk. The City Council worked to ensure the terms are aligned with Portland’s values and that Portlanders would be solidly protected from any downside risk:
· No impact to the City’s General Fund
· No impact to the City’s ability to provide basic services
· No Urban Renewal funding
The City’s contribution to the multi-use, LEED Silver certified stadium will be financed primarily through private investment by the Paulsons and by revenues from sports spectators, as recommended by the Major League Soccer Task Force. The City’s liability is limited through numerous personal guarantees from the Paulson family, which ensure that the City will receive projected revenue even if the new MLS franchise or the league fails. Specifically, the Paulsons have made personal guarantees of operating revenue for 25 years and that the team will stay in the city for at least 25 years.
The newly renovated stadium will also be used by Portland State University’s football program and the general public for community events. Additionally, Paulson has pledged an annual contribution to the Portland Parks Foundation to improve community soccer fields as part of his commitment to the public. The $31 million deal goes to City Council for approval on January 27. I am eager to build the public-private partnership and will continue to work with Paulson to find a new home for AAA baseball.
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