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Soccer - Pro

MLS debate remains a matter of money, and more

    Pro soccer in Portland, featuring the Portland Timbers, would move up a notch if team owner Merritt Paulson gets the city to agree on terms for remodeling PGE Park and building a new baseball stadium for the Beavers.

    Portland’s Major League Soccer/minor-league baseball park issue is a complicated one, and one that will play out over the next month as the city faces a March 15 deadline to tell MLS officials if they want in or not for a franchise.

    I’ve spoken with representatives of all the participating factions – including those from the MLS – over recent months.

    Here are the conclusions I’ve drawn after those discussions:

    I’d say it’s 60-40 the city of Portland officials will decide to go for a franchise, but it won’t be that surprising if it goes the other way.

    Merritt Paulson, who owns the Triple-A baseball Beavers and the United Soccer Leagues Timbers, says he will pay the $40 million MLS expansion fee, but Paulson wants the city to cover the roughly $85 million it would cost to refurbish PGE Park to MLS requirements and construct a baseball-only park for the Beavers.

    — Excerpt from The Portland Tribune, February 17, 2009


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