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Bring the Beavers to the Rose Quarter

    As Portland finalizes a decision on the specific Rose Quarter site to build a new and better home for the Portland Beavers, let’s first remember what the team already means to Portland and acknowledge the many benefits that will result from retiring Memorial Coliseum and building an intimate new stadium with downtown views for Triple A baseball, outdoor summer concerts, youth sports and other events.

    Since 1903, the Beavers have been a Portland institution. Each summer, on 72 days and evenings, thousands of fans come together in the city to enjoy the game of baseball. The Beavers organization employs more than 250 people, spurs economic activity for area businesses and generates revenue for the fund dedicated to financing all city-owned spectator venues. And the Beavers contribute more than $100,000 a year to local youth charities, make player appearances throughout the region and host more than 100 community events a year at PGE Park. In short, the Beavers are more than just a Portland tradition, the team is a valuable job creator, community builder and revenue generator for the city.

    The current home of the Beavers, PGE Park, has many good qualities. But it’s better suited for professional, college and high school soccer and football than for baseball. At 19,600 seats, the stadium is too big for even a successful Triple A team that averages just more than 5,500 fans a game. And, regrettably, most of the seats are too far from the field to create the kind of intimate, close-to-the-action experience fans want.

    — Excerpt from a Guest Opinion by Merritt Paulson, The Oregonian, April 15, 2009


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