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Soccer - Pro

Soccer decisions coming up fast

    The City Council must sign its first agreement on the Major League Soccer deal in less than three weeks, according to new franchise owner Merritt Paulson.

    The council must by April 15 approve the pre-development agreement to renovate PGE Park for the incoming MLS team and build a new Triple-A baseball stadium in the Rose Quarter, Paulson said.

    After that, Paulson said, the council must approve the designs for the facilities and sign leases and operating agreements for them with his company by Aug. 1.

    At that time, the council must also agree on all public sources of funding for the projects, including $15 million for the PGE Park renovations and $18.5 million for the new ballpark.

    The City Council agreed to support Paulson’s bid for an MLS team on March 11 by approving the broad outlines of an estimated $129 million plan to renovated PGE Park for professional soccer and build a new Triple-A baseball stadium in the Rose Quarter. The deal calls for the city to commit about $70 million to the project, provided that no existing or future agency budgets be cut.

    As part of the deal, Paulson agreed to spend $35 million of his own money to buy an MLS expansion franchise and raise most of the rest of the money from private sources. He owns the minor league Portland Timber soccer team and the Triple-A Portland Beavers baseball team, which plays in PGE Park and would need a new home.

    — Excerpt from The Portland Tribune, March 26, 2009


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