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Vote on stadium delayed; Lents Park site back on the table

    Mayor Sam Adams and sports team owner Merritt Paulson agreed Thursday to indefinitely delay a City Council vote on where to put a new minor league baseball park so they can explore the once-discarded option of Southeast Portland’s Lents Park.

    In an effort to save Memorial Coliseum, Adams and his planning team have been trying all week to squeeze the baseball stadium into a parcel just north of the coliseum. But while the schematic drawings looked impressive — even with stadium seating cantilevered over North Broadway — the measurements didn’t add up.

    “It won’t fit,” Adams said bluntly.

    That brought the discussion back to tearing down the coliseum, an idea that has created an uproar inthe city’s architecture community.

    Commissioner Dan Saltzman said he wouldn’t vote to raze the coliseum without a more lengthy public process, one that lasts two or three months and takes a hard look at alternatives.

    “If I’m going to make a decision to demolish the coliseum, I’d like to do that knowing there’s been some process to look at the options,” he said. “All these competing uses in the Rose Quarter and the implicit commitment of public money makes me think we ought to slow it down.”

    Saltzman said he’s not opposed to ultimately tearing down the coliseum, a building he’s nostalgic about, but he wants to make sure it’s the right move. He also said he’s still in favor of bringing Major League Soccer to Portland and is still behind the city’s agreement with Paulson.

    — Excerpt from The Oregonian, April 24, 2009


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