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MightyAlweg Jun 9, 2009 1:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pdxhome (Post 4294492)
I would say Portland is 15-20 years from having MLB which is why if we want to keep baseball in Portland, we need to put all our eggs into the AAA baseball basket.

I agree with your assesment. If Portland loses the Beavers now, they can tack another decade onto the wait for a MLB team. Or any major league team really, as MLB is the best bet to arrive before the NFL does.

But the thing I just can't wrap my mind around is that all of this drama is being caused by a millionaire who wants to gut the current downtown baseball stadium for.... soccer?

I live in SoCal where we had that Beckham guy for awhile and have a huge hispanic population, and the evening sportscasts never, ever, never mention soccer. I do see some soccer images when I flip past the Spanish language stations, but the big networks don't mention soccer at all. Ever.

And Portland is going through all of this expense and hassle in a deep recession for.... soccer? :koko:

RED_PDXer Jun 9, 2009 6:41 AM

how often does anyone here attend a major league sports game? a couple Blazers games a year? is it really essential to a happy life? I'd get by fine without them and I'd probably appreciate something I'd use more often in the place of the Rose Garden Arena.. in terms of priorities, spending millions on accommodating MLS is ridiculous. Taking up precious urban land in the middle of our city for something like this is even more ridiculous.. there are better ways to attract national attention than a subsidized team of overpaid athletes..

urbanlife Jun 9, 2009 7:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RED_PDXer (Post 4295918)
how often does anyone here attend a major league sports game? a couple Blazers games a year? is it really essential to a happy life? I'd get by fine without them and I'd probably appreciate something I'd use more often in the place of the Rose Garden Arena.. in terms of priorities, spending millions on accommodating MLS is ridiculous. Taking up precious urban land in the middle of our city for something like this is even more ridiculous.. there are better ways to attract national attention than a subsidized team of overpaid athletes..

Oh I fully agree, pro sports teams are not worth it in the financial sense and a big city can get by just fine without them.

Though on the other side, pro sports teams are about community unity and creating a local pride. Just seeing the Blazers go to the playoffs showed the amount of unity and pride the city had for its team. People love competition and they love rooting for their home team.

So there are two ways to look at it.

pdxf Jun 9, 2009 5:42 PM

The financial argument for the MLS, or any pro team for that matter is really only part of the story. Because the amount spent at the stadium, at business around the stadium, money spent on public transportation, television and radio ad revenue, or money spent within the city because people would rather attend a sporting event and stay in Portland, rather than go somewhere else during their weekend, the true financial can be a bit hard to compute. While financial return and costs are important (and this is financially a very, very good deal for the city), I find the non-financial benefits to the city more interesting.

The Timbers already have the largest, most supportive fan base in the USL, and even beat out many of the MLS teams in terms of fan support (this isn't necessarily attendance, but the commitment of the fan base). Over the past few years, the Timbers Army has spread from one section, to now almost filling the entire northern section of PGE Park. As the Timbers enter the MLS, support for the team will grow, and the amount of committed, pride-filled fans will continue to increase.

This fan base attracts a variety of people. Within this rowdy bunch are people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, there are young children, 20 somethings, high schoolers, college students, etc.... All of these people are deeply involved with their team, and in essence their city. How many blazer fans make their own t-shirts, scarves, and banners (I'm not talking about signs written on cardboard!)? How many Blazer fans stand and chant the entire game? That's support, and that's pride in their city (Rose City Til I Die!).

Sure, all of these people spend money at local businesses (I think the amount of aforementioned shirts and scarves that the Timbers Army make probably supports an apparel business or two!) and potentially provide a lot to the city financially, but the fact that these varied people, who may or may not interact with each other in everyday life, can unite and cheer for their city is a powerful concept and makes the city more unified and stronger.

Is a pro sports franchise necessary for the happiness of the the citizen's? Certainly not, but it's hard to argue that there isn't a positive aspect of happiness provided for the city. Sure, we all hope that the Timbers MLS will make plenty of money for the city, but to me at least, there is a positive to providing an investment in civic pride that makes the Portland region stronger.

I'm not suggesting that we just throw our money at any sports franchise that comes along, but maybe in addition to calculating the financial costs and benefits, we also look at whether these investments will make this city an even better place to live. I argue that in this case, it will.

http://www.liquidosity.com/mls/ta.jpg
<br>Oregonlive

pdxf Jun 9, 2009 5:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RED_PDXer (Post 4295918)
how often does anyone here attend a major league sports game? a couple Blazers games a year? is it really essential to a happy life? I'd get by fine without them and I'd probably appreciate something I'd use more often in the place of the Rose Garden Arena.. in terms of priorities, spending millions on accommodating MLS is ridiculous. Taking up precious urban land in the middle of our city for something like this is even more ridiculous.. there are better ways to attract national attention than a subsidized team of overpaid athletes..

I only attended one Blazer game this year...but who cares? How much I go to games really doesn't matter on whether having a sports team is good for the city or not. Is the city a better place for having the Blazers (or Timbers)? Are there financial and civic benefits to having a team? A sports team may not be necessary for being happy, but do they provide enjoyment and contribute to the happiness of the city? I think these are all better questions.

pdxhome Jun 9, 2009 6:38 PM

Quote:

how often does anyone here attend a major league sports game? a couple Blazers games a year? is it really essential to a happy life? I'd get by fine without them and I'd probably appreciate something I'd use more often in the place of the Rose Garden Arena.. in terms of priorities, spending millions on accommodating MLS is ridiculous. Taking up precious urban land in the middle of our city for something like this is even more ridiculous.. there are better ways to attract national attention than a subsidized team of overpaid athletes..
This is a different answer for everyone, but I rarely attend Blazers games. I don't like the NBA. I do however typically drive to Seattle 2-3 weekends per summer to watch a Mariners series. I also attend Timbers games. I rarely attend Beavers baseball games (mainly due to PGE park).

With the Beavers in a new facility I can honestly see myself using the money I would typically spend on Mariners tickets/Seattle trips to buy a season ticket package to the Beavers. My main reason for this is to watch baseball played in a baseball stadium, on real grass.

Again these are personal preferences and I am picky about my baseball watching experience, but my exact experience is something that cannot be easily quantified in an economic study.

RED_PDXer Jun 10, 2009 8:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pdxf (Post 4296496)
Is a pro sports franchise necessary for the happiness of the the citizen's? Certainly not, but it's hard to argue that there isn't a positive aspect of happiness provided for the city. Sure, we all hope that the Timbers MLS will make plenty of money for the city, but to me at least, there is a positive to providing an investment in civic pride that makes the Portland region stronger.

Interesting responses all.. however, I should've clarified.. what's more important - a road without potholes or watching an overpaid athlete do the same thing a minor league athlete can do? Modern computers and software for our school children or a modern stadium where you can pay $100's of dollars to sit in box seats to watch a sports game? A school system with a high completion rate or a major league team that makes the playoffs.. Almost anything can be bought that makes SOME people happy, but at what opportunity cost?

I realize there are sports fans here.. that's fine.. let's find a corporation to sponsor your sports team than our tax dollars, unless you want to pay the full cost of your enjoyment... decisions like subsidizing "professional" sports teams, compounded over time, result in massive degradation of our essential public services and institutions..

pdxf Jun 10, 2009 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RED_PDXer (Post 4297919)
Interesting responses all.. however, I should've clarified.. what's more important - a road without potholes or watching an overpaid athlete do the same thing a minor league athlete can do? Modern computers and software for our school children or a modern stadium where you can pay $100's of dollars to sit in box seats to watch a sports game? A school system with a high completion rate or a major league team that makes the playoffs.. Almost anything can be bought that makes SOME people happy, but at what opportunity cost?

We can always make the argument that we need to fix our potholes, because we will most likely always have them. Our schools can always be better, we can always try to get more people into permanent housing, etc....

Perhaps we shouldn't have to have perfectly pothole-free roads or the best schools in the world before investing in things that make a city great. When I think of the things that make london, san francisco, or rome great cities, the amount of potholes in their streets really doesn't enter my mind. It's the larger investments that the city made that make them great cities.

Every investment only makes SOME people happy. Potholes and computers for every child are the same as baseball and soccer stadiums. You can't please everyone, but your ending question is valid: What are the opportunity costs for only focusing on things like potholes and ignoring other opportunities that arise?

*And personally, I can put up with some potholes to enjoy the MLS in a couple of years!

JordanL Jun 10, 2009 10:58 PM

I would like to point out that in all but extremely rare cases, the extent of public "funding" of local sports is guaranteeing loans that the franchise uses to build something, then pays the city back for.

Basically a sharing of a credit line, instead of a sharing of funds.

2oh1 Jun 20, 2009 6:36 AM

Are now going to miss out on MLS and lose The Beavers too? This soccer mess is... well, it's a mess.

From the Oregonian: With Lents out for baseball, soccer deal hits new standoff

Quote:

Team owner Merritt Paulson's decision to scrap Lents as a site for a new Portland Beavers baseball stadium has thrown the sharpest curveball yet into the increasingly messy attempts to deliver Major League Soccer to Portland.

Friday's developments shifted by the hour. After Paulson announced he was pulling out of Lents, city Commissioner Randy Leonard issued an ultimatum: Unless Paulson reconsiders, he'll vote against a resolution calling for the city to pursue negotiations for Major League Soccer.

Mayor Sam Adams said he'll continue to push for soccer. But he acknowledged that the Beavers probably will become a regional team, not a Portland team.

And the head of Major League Soccer said if Portland wants a team, city officials need to pick up the pace to meet a Sept. 1 deadline.

"It might be too late," warned MLS President Mark Abbott. "If you don't start very quickly, it will be difficult to complete in time for the 2011 season. The expansion is contingent upon that."

At the center of the debate is PGE Park, the city center's venerable but outmoded ballpark where the Triple-A Beavers now play. That's also where Paulson's minor-league soccer team, the Portland Timbers, play. Paulson's plan is that in two years, the Timbers will join Major League Soccer in a $35 million franchise deal that he needs to seal.

Major League Soccer officials have said PGE Park must be reconfigured for big-time soccer, which would cost $37 million. City officials had settled on Southeast Portland's Lents Park as the Beavers' new home. But neighborhood residents strenuously objected to the idea, saying they were concerned about crowds, traffic and a proposal to finance the $48 million stadium with urban renewal money normally used for neighborhood improvements.

Residents booed Paulson at a meeting Thursday night. In a letter to the city the next morning, he said the opposition persuaded him to abandon the idea of a Lents ballpark.

Now, the standoff between Paulson and Leonard raises the possibility that Portland could end up losing two teams -- the Beavers and Major League Soccer.

"I don't think anybody began this process with the expectation it would cost us an opportunity to keep the baseball team we already have and lose an option for soccer," said City Commissioner Nick Fish, who has voted against a soccer deal. "The question has always been, 'Can we structure a deal which is financially responsible?'"

One of the leaders of the group formed to oppose the Beavers' relocation to Lents said she was overjoyed by Paulson's decision.

"I'm sorry this messes up major league soccer, but it was not the job of the neighborhood to sacrifice ourselves to make a soccer deal work," said Kathleen Juergens de Ponce, a member of Friends of Lents Park's steering committee. "The city should have handled this better on their end."

Paulson declined to return e-mails seeking comment. He has said he would do "everything possible" to keep the Beavers in the Portland area.

Portland is one of the largest and most coveted markets in baseball's Pacific Coast League, and league officials said they're committed to keeping the Beavers here. At the same time, they've acknowledged the drawbacks of PGE Park, which seats about 20,000. Triple-A teams are moving to smaller stadiums so fans can enjoy a more intimate experience.

But no obvious replacement for Lents emerged Friday. Paulson has talked about moving the team to Hillsboro and Clark County.

Adams said he wouldn't revisit the idea of razing Memorial Coliseum. Other possible Portland sites -- from Delta Park to the headquarters of Portland Public Schools -- are unsuitable because they're not city-owned or have other limitations, he said.

Leonard has fought to keep the Beavers in Portland and has been one of the deal's strongest supporters on the City Council. Paulson's move prompted his harshest criticism so far in the negotiations.

"What Merritt has done is put me in a bad position," Leonard said. "I told him I would vote for soccer if he kept the Beavers. He promised me, he shook my hand, he said he'd see this through.

"Merritt needs to very quickly calm down and take a deep breath," he said.

But later in the day, even as he publicly scolded Paulson, Leonard huddled in the mayor's office with Paulson's representatives, trying to work out the outlines of a soccer deal.

"Of course, I know soccer is a good idea," he said.

Timbers fans remained unfazed by the spat between Leonard and Paulson. Jeremy Wright, one of the co-founders of the Timbers Army fan group, said he's confident that major league soccer will land in Portland.

"To be honest, I thought it was dead at least seven times in the last nine months," Wright said. "The league and the city of Portland can't let this slip through our grasp, and Randy understands that."

urbanlife Jun 20, 2009 6:48 AM

Well Randy Leonard is definitely making it much easier for me to decide who I will not be voting for in the next election. This whole "Sam lied" crap is nothing compared to this worthless display of cry baby attitude that Leonard has been showing....seriously, I am gonna have to start calling him baby Bush if he keeps this up.

I hope he doesnt screw up the MLS deal in the long run because I think the Timbers fan base here deserves a boost like this.

Also it kind of pisses me off that the only reason why better locations in the city for a AAA ballpark are not on the table is because the city cant attach URA money to it....which was the only reason why they wanted to build this ballpark in Lents so badly to begin with.

JordanL Jun 20, 2009 7:15 AM

Thank you, people of Lents, for being complete dicks.

I don't know how baseball could possibly make that neighborhood any worse than it already is.

urbanlife Jun 20, 2009 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JordanL (Post 4316925)
Thank you, people of Lents, for being complete dicks.

I don't know how baseball could possibly make that neighborhood any worse than it already is.

Well they could let the city build a AAA ballpark in the middle of a light density neighborhood and consider 250 street parking spots apart of the number needed to meet AAA parking requirements.

The only reason the city wanted to put it there was because it could use all of Lents's URA money...in other words, the city was just using Lents. Who in their right mind would want a AAA ballpark right across the street from low density housing? This had to be the poorest choice the city could of made for a location...and Leonard's crybaby attitude makes it even worse.

JordanL Jun 20, 2009 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urbanlife (Post 4317024)
Well they could let the city build a AAA ballpark in the middle of a light density neighborhood and consider 250 street parking spots apart of the number needed to meet AAA parking requirements.

The only reason the city wanted to put it there was because it could use all of Lents's URA money...in other words, the city was just using Lents. Who in their right mind would want a AAA ballpark right across the street from low density housing? This had to be the poorest choice the city could of made for a location...and Leonard's crybaby attitude makes it even worse.

This whole thing is messed up. It wouldn't be a problem if we could turn an underutilized, ugly and city-owned building into something useful without everyone blowing a gasket.

But nooooooooo. We must have forgot. This is Portland.

pdxf Jun 20, 2009 6:48 PM

I don't want to lose the MLS bid because of the decision not to use lents (I really don't think that will happen), but the Lents location was pretty bad in my opinion. I think there are other, better possibilities that will be more successful. Of course I'm still pushing for the OMSI site...

2oh1 Jun 22, 2009 6:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pdxf (Post 4317425)
Of course I'm still pushing for the OMSI site...

I'm still in favor of ripping down memorial coliseum and replacing it with Memorial Park - a Memorial Park that would be better suited to the specific needs of AAA ball, but with a site that would be possible to someday upgrade to MLB - say, 20 years from now if it were to happen.

OMSI would be a very good second choice, especially with MAX probably on the way... but still... Memorial Coliseum is such a perfect site.

2oh1 Jun 22, 2009 6:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JordanL (Post 4316925)
Thank you, people of Lents, for being complete dicks.

Hardly! I say "Thank you, people of Lents, for sticking up for your neighborhood." It's not their fault that their neighborhood was a poor choice for The Beavers, and it's also not their fault our city leaders seem to lack the conviction to make difficult decisions.

JordanL Jun 22, 2009 8:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2oh1 (Post 4319377)
Hardly! I say "Thank you, people of Lents, for sticking up for your neighborhood." It's not their fault that their neighborhood was a poor choice for The Beavers, and it's also not their fault our city leaders seem to lack the conviction to make difficult decisions.

Saying no to the stadium does not make them dicks. They way in which they did it does.

brandonpdx Jun 22, 2009 6:46 PM

Portland will get MLS; Randy Leonard is just doing his usual posturing.

eric cantona Jun 22, 2009 8:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandonpdx (Post 4320039)
Portland will get MLS; Randy Leonard is just doing his usual posturing.

spot on. Leonard's drama queen routine is starting to wear thin, IMO.

baseball at the MC is a non-starter for a few reasons:
  1. my understanding is that it is not large enough to accommodate MLB. any site that cannot do that (including Lents) should NEVER be considered. i don't care how remote the possibility is, if there's any chance of attracting an MLB team here then it is simply good planning to be prepared for that, and not building a stadium that could be rendered useless later.
  2. as a forward looking city, tearing down a usable structure for a baseball stadium is the opposite of sustainable.
  3. architectural legacy is important.
  4. regardless of your view of the aesthetic appeal of the MC, it remains a useful counterpoint to the larger and flashier (and uglier...) RG. yes, it can pay for the necessary upgrades if marketed properly. and no, it will not compete with the RG.

i've mentioned it before elsewhere: there is land adjacent to PIR that is owned by the City and the County, has great freeway access, a MAX stop already there, and is large enough for a MLB size stadium AND parking. on top of that parking could be shared with the racetrack. this land is currently grass, and is used for parking at larger events at the track. the Interstate Ave. URA borders it, and could possibly be enlarged to cover the site.

my guess is that there are more sites like this around the metro area, and in Portland. the City's due dilligence on the baseball portion of the whole deal is abysmal. always reactionary (see Leonard comment above) and usually wrong.


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