At a news conference today, City Commissioner Randy Leonard and Henry Merritt Paulson III, owner of the Portland Timbers and the Portland Beavers, stated their intentions to help turn the Rose City into a big-league sports town.
Paulson is applying for one of two MLS expansion teams that will begin play in 2011. If he succeeds, he wants city help making $40 million in improvements to PGE Park downtown and building a new home for the Triple A Beavers. A new minor-league park could cost $35 million.
This type of appeal to the city and its taxpayers happens all over the country, year in and year out. I’m not a big soccer fan, but this type of growth is good for Portland, so I’d likely agree to a tax hike. Yet, I’ll also offer that Portland has unique corporate sponsorship opportunities in this category, with Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear and Jantzen all based here. Ideally, a mix of public and private support will get the job done.