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Soccer - Pro

Portland sets goals for MLS deal

    When the city and the Portland Trail Blazers worked out a 750-page deal to build the Rose Garden, the team took most of the risk and the city got some of the reward when the arena opened in 1995.

    The city wants to follow that model as it works toward a deal with Merritt Paulson, owner of the Portland Timbers soccer team, who’s bidding for one of two Major League Soccer franchises up for grabs this year.

    City officials expect Paulson to assume much of the financial risk if either the team or the young league fails. “We’re definitely pushing for the best deal for taxpayers,” Mayor Sam Adams said. “We’re risk averse.”

    Paulson has gotten that message.  “The great news is we are structuring a deal that does not expose the general fund and has zero impact to taxpayers over time,” he said this week.

    City officials say they’re less than two weeks from structuring an arrangement to meet Paulson’s mid-March deadline for making a pitch to Major League Soccer.

    — Excerpt from Oregonian, February 20, 2009


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