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Soccer - Pro

Soccer deal passes council with one major change

    Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman voted this afternoon in favor of bring Major League Soccer to Portland to loud cheers, giving a 3-2 edge to the city’s involvement in a complicated financial deal after a six hour hearing.

    Saltzman’s deciding vote came after he proposed an amendment to the original agreement that took money from a new urban renewal district off the table. That amendment, agreed to by all five members of the council, leaves a $15 million funding hole in the financing package.

    Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish voted against the deal out of concerns that the financing deal would affect basic services provided by the city, county and local school districts. Commissioner Randy Leonard and Mayor Sam Adams were the deal’s main champions.

    After the marathon City Council meeting, team owner Merritt Paulson made a brief statement to reporters, saying the deal reached by the council was a “positive step” toward getting a Major League Soccer franchise in Portland.

    But he said the funding gap is a major challenge because he cannot come up with the money himself.

    — Excerpt from OregonLive.com, March 11, 2009


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