OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

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OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by aleppiek on Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:00 am

Merritt Paulsen et al. announced Yesterday that they are working with the city to put together a plan to re-configure PGE park to be Soccer/Football specific, as well as build a new Beavers park in the Lents Neigborhood in SE Portland. You can see a few more details, and mock ups of PGE at www.mlstoportland.com

What do you all think? Would MLS thrive in PDX?

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by PointPilots on Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:20 am

I think MLS would be huge in Portland, as would a team in the new women's league... However, moving the Beavers to Lents would not revitalize the neighborhood AND it would be the death of the Beavers organization... No offense to SE Portland, but nobody would go out there for a AAA baseball game... Sorry LaSalle Alums... Poor Beavs.

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by PilotNut on Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:33 am

I agree with PP. I think an MLS team in a renovated classic old stadium downtown would do very well.

How would an MLS team effect UP Soccer? I think it could set up a great partnership, with each helping the other. But would the MLS team cannibalize any of our fan support? Or would the MLS fan migrate to also be a UP fan? (I think the benefit would outweigh the negative here, but not sure...)

As far as the Beavs go, I dont think a move to Lents sense. A new home for them should be centrally located--the problem is where. I dont know of a cheap piece of land to do it on, however. (Central Eastside? Industrial NW? close proximity to MAX would be important... would N Portland be better than Lents, say near Delta Park or PIR?). I only attend a couple games a year, but i'm pretty sure that I wouldnt drive to Lents to go to one. (Would the Lents, and other Eastsiders & SE folks who dont come downtown now attend, though?)

So yeah, i'm waffling a lot in this post. Rolling Eyes

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by Stonehouse on Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:51 am

Whoa... PointPilots coming out of the cave!

For me, the only way it would make sense to build a new baseball stadium would be making it easily expandible to be MLB ready. Otherwise you are just pissing away $30 million. If you could get the city to make an initial investment of $30 for a stadium at a good location, coupled with the $200 million that is sitting there waiting for MLB from the bill passed a few years ago, Portland would become that much more attractive for MLB to relocate. The Rose Quarter district makes the most sense - close to light rail and mass transit, near downtown, an area that the city wants to revitalize, etc. The dream spot would be where the main Post Office is downtown on Broadway, but that likely isn't going to happen now that developers have pretty much locked down that deal (moving the Post Office HW to the airport).

When I was volunteering with the Oregon Sports Authority one summer to help get the bill passed, the main locations talked about were revitalizing PGE Park (not an option with MLS), the Post Office (likely not an option any more), the Rose Quarter (still very viable), Lincoln HS (would involve relocating the HS, something PPS wants to do), capping 405 at Burnside (creative idea, but expensive and would make the stadium super high above the ground), and Lents Park (terrible spot). So really... if it's not the Rose Quarter, nothing really seems to likely to happen. The Lincoln HS idea is interesting and could work if they find a new spot for it (I've heard further into NW or north of the Pearl near the industrial area), but that would take years probably.

So as you can see, Lents Park is definitely the spot that offers the least resistance. And for me, I think that's what Paulson is thinking. He has to strike while the iron is hot with MLS, and the only way to make this work is to go with Lents. Problem is... while I support the idea of trying to get in an MLS team, building a stadium at Lents park would be TERRIBLE. Heck, building it in North Portland would be way better than Lents. Outer SE could totally work for an NFL stadium if that were to ever happen (only 8 games a year, people will go anywhere for football, etc.), but AAA baseball? Not going to happen.

But I can understand where Paulson is coming from. He wants to get MLS and thinks he will if he locks down a proposal, but the only way to do that is to relocate the Beavers quickly. And the only way he can do that is build a new stadium in Lents, especially since Randy Leonard is totally behind it.

The Beavers would definitely lose a lot of their young thirsty Thursday crowd, but maybe they might still draw OK for a while. And maybe there is some truth that it might help draw in some people from outer SE. In the end though, Lents would be a dead-end location and would likely ultimately lead to the Beavers leaving again, which would pretty much kill the MLB-to-Portland dream.


Last edited by Stonehouse on Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:05 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:57 am

I think the MLS in the PDX would be fantastic, and taking the Sounders/Timbers (Portland would obviously keep that name) rivalry to the highest level would be excellent for the sport as a whole. That said I agree that moving the Beavs to SE wouldn't necessarily be a recipe for success, and honestly I think in the long term the removal from downtown would ultimately result in the team's demise. With regard to an MLS team, I don't think it will happen for a while... Other cities are far more advanced in their bids to get an immediate team, however the owner of the Timbers showing actual initiative will definitely help in the future (That and having adidas, the MLS's primary sponsor, based right in town.)

I think the MLS definitely has the potential to thrive in the PDX... You already have a solid core of fans through the Timbers Army... If they can create a good on field product and an exciting place to watch, I think it has potential to be a fantastic draw.... And as far as affecting Pilots soccer, remember the bulk of their season, it could have an adverse effect on attendance for the men (well not that they get much now anyway, but it could make growth VERY challenging), but I think the women are so good, no way you will see much effect on their attendance.

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by aleppiek on Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:00 am

I still like the idea of the Portland Public Schools area right off the freeway near the Rose Garden. To me I could care less where they put a new Beaver stadium, the Timbers already outdraw the beavers on a per game basis. I think that an MLS club only benefits UP as local interest in Soccer = more awareness = more interest in the product UP puts on the field.

I would HATE a Delta Park, PIR concept though, as I-5 traffic is already horrible through there.

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:39 am

Agreed on the Delta Park/PIR sentiment.... until something is done about the horrible congestion in that area, any additional attraction in that area just seems like a BAD idea...

As fun as it is to have access to the Beavers, honestly the possibility of adding a top level sports franchise (to a a still GROWING sport... no less) would be an excellent opportunity worth sacrificing minor league ball IMO...

I think Portland has an opportunity to create an environment similar to Toronto FC, which has the best attendance of any team not fielding a guy with "Beckham" on the back of his jersey. They marketed the team to 20 somethings living in urban Toronto... as opposed to families and kids, which has proven to be a wildly successful business model. The current PGE would be perfect to facilitate that sort of environment, and they already have one of the more loyal followings in the country in the Army. Honestly I think its kind of a match made in heaven, the only only problem is they are competing with much larger metro areas for the team....

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by aleppiek on Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:44 am

I think Paulsen should just say "Hey Garber, we are "SOCCER CITY USA" can we have our team now?" end of story.

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:16 pm

Point Pilots is....uh...OK, on point Laughing. So is Stonehouse. I have umpired in Lents many times and I just cannot see how a baseball stadium would work there. I have heard Paulson wants to somehow remodel Walker Stadium, the high school/amateur field at Lents Park. He may as well tear it down and build a new stadium for the shape that place is in. The entire field will probably be redone anyway, and the stands are in rough shape. And there is not a lot of room on the 1st base side before you run into 92d.

Then there is the issue of parking. There would have to be some kind of lot or garage, and that would take away more space from the park. This change is something that neighbors will probably resist. They also will probably not want a lot of cars on their residential streets most summer nights. I know there will be a new Max line along I-205 but this will not be convenient for everyone either. Who on the west side will want to drive through traffic or ride Tri-Met all the way to Southeast? The advantage of being downtown is that it is in a central location.

If there was going to be a new stadium I would like to see it somewhere near the Rose Quarter, and Paulson had mentioned he was looking at a site in that area. Or here's something I just thought of: could he find some land in the South Waterfront? The city thought that would be the next hot neighborhood, but not much is happening there just yet besides all the new condos. I also think its location by the river would make for some nice scenery.

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Re: OT Portland Officially Launches Bid for MLS Expansion

Post by aleppiek on Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:23 pm

A Riverfront stadium would be AWESOME. However I would bet that the area is zoned Residential and I think part of the City's interest in being involved is to stimulate the economy through dining etc... in the area of the stadium.

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