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Soccer - Pro

Portland talks $75 million deal to draw Major League Soccer

    Merritt Paulson, a newcomer to Oregon and sports ownership, took a gamble last year when he bet he could turn around the Portland Beavers and build on the success of the Portland Timbers.

    Now the 35-year-old son of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants Portland taxpayers to ante up and help him bring Major League Soccer to town — perhaps by borrowing $75 million on the city’s credit card.
    The Beavers would need a new home if Major League Soccer comes to town. The most likely scenario has the city building a new, 8,500-seat baseball stadium at Lents Park in outer Southeast Portland.

    Paulson will find out early next year whether Portland will receive one of two expansion teams. To make the case, Paulson and city leaders are talking about spending $40 million to turn PGE Park into a state-of-the-art soccer stadium.

    That would mean finding a new home for the minor league Beavers baseball team, but Paulson and city leaders have a plan for that, too: A new, 8,500-seat boutique baseball-only ballpark in Portland’s Lents neighborhood.

    — Excerpt from The Oregonian, September 4, 2008


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