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Soccer - Pro

Beavers co-owner sees Portland as a two-sport star

    To recruit Major League Soccer, Merritt Paulson says he needs taxpayers to put up $85 million to upgrade PGE Park and move Triple-A baseball to a new stadium in Southeast Portland.

    But Paulson faces a city and state skeptical of digging into general tax revenues to subsidize professional sports, especially in an economic downturn. The city is still saddled with debt from its last PGE Park remodel.

    Portland officials say they may be willing to sell taxpayer-backed bonds to finance part of the projects. But team revenues and rent on the city-owned stadiums wouldn’t be nearly enough to cover the entire debt payments, according to interviews and public records.

    So, Paulson — who plans to spend $40 million of his own money for the soccer franchise — is trying to shake loose more public money from Salem and City Hall to bridge the gap. His short list would tap state income taxes and city urban-renewal money targeted to fight neighborhood blight.

    — Excerpt from The Oregonian, October 9, 2008


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