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Monday, September 8, 2008

Pushback on the new stadium boondoggle

An alert reader writes:

The East Portland Parks Coalition, which met last Thursday, sent a message to the Parks Bureau and Randy Leonard to the effect that any budget for a Lents stadium [for the Beavers minor league baseball team] should include the costs of acquiring a new site within Lents for, and fully developing, ball fields to replace those [in Lents Park] that would be lost to the Lents stadium.
Let's see... Long-time parks advocates, who have given many years of their lives to Portland's green spaces, versus some guy from New York who showed up a year or two ago with money to flash around and big plans for little Portland and its tax revenues. Who will win that one? (Hint: Sam Adams is going to be mayor.)

Comments (17)

it sure is easy to besmirk and belittle the plans for the lents stadium when you ignore that much of the community supports the plans.

Even if that's true, it's too late. We already blew $42 million on renovations for the Beavers and the Timbers, and we still owe $28 million on that debt. When that's paid off, we can talk about doing it again. That'll be in 2023. See you then.

I'm sorry, Jack, but since when have existing big budget expenditures that remain unpaid prevented subsequent unfunded expenditures in Portland?

I think it's a silly idea, because I don't believe a major league soccer team will get any long-term traction here. That doesn't mean it isn't going to happen though. The real stumbling block is going to be Paul Allen, and question of whether or not he can continue to keep all major league competition away from the Blazers.


Thought you'd find this amusing, even though it'll likely be used against all the civic programs/infrastructure I support.

all major league competition

You are kidding. I am sure the Blazers could care less about "major league" soccer. As Dwight Jaynes reminds us today, that label is rather dubious.

This will be Sam's greatest monument to himself yet. Plus you have Randy as the guy pulling his strings (for whatever reason, he seems to get his way with Sam), it will take an effort to stop this.

Let's just keep running the URA credit card up yet. This is starting to go off the deep end since soccer or minor-league baseball is still not making the kind of money to keep someone like Paulson involved once these get built.

That's not much push-back considering that the current ballpark plan will only displace one pee-wee football practice field that is occasionally used for adult soccer.

Did anyone see the glowing article in the BOREGONIAN sports section about Major League Soccer on monday? It sure looked like a press release puff piece if I ever saw one.

As someone who has actually USED Lents Park for sporting activities (adult soccer the past 5 years), let me tell you that I, and everyone I know who also uses Lents for field purposes, will easily be accommodated by the number of other parks within a mile or two (Ed Benedict, Bloomington, Glenwood, Flavel, Woodstock, Clinton). It really won't be much a problem, or an expenditure, to fit whatever fields are lost at Lents to other very nearby parks.

And once again, we're going to get a firsthand demonstration on how all promises of massive returns for bending over for an out-of-state sports team are lies. (You don't think that this unnamed team will be hiring players from Portland, do you?) More importantly, no matter how much the area allegedly supports this boondoggle, the real question is and always should be "If it's such a moneymaking idea, then why does the ringleader of this scam have to get public money to make it happen?"

Curious that 'other' parks in East Portland would absorb the many athletic and recreational activities dislocated by minor league baseball from Lents Park.

I wonder what these other parks users and neighbors would say to this position?
Did they realize their own neighborhood parks would be impacted by Commissioner Leonard's plan to commercialize Lents Park?

Very curious,

It seems to me that it would be a much better deal to have the promoters of a new "major league baseball field" limited to obtaining existing commercial and residential property, rather than existing park property.

That way, they can call it "urban renewal".

Hey...It worked for the freeways.


Please provide the source which supports your contention that "much of the community supports the plan".

And...I certainly don't want all those displaced Lents residents overpopulating the already overpopulated parks in my neighborhood.

What really happened behind the scenes is that Homer Williams called in Raunchy Randy, and said that;

"since the Downtown Main Post Office is now in the newly reorganized Pearl Urban Renewal district, there's now globs of extra money, I want a big chunk of it to develop to the east of the existing Pearl, and the Post Office site where city fathers were recently dreamin' that this would be the site for major league baseball. I even want to go into ChinaTown. Okay? Okay."

Then Homer was magnanimous and "suggested";

"why don't we consider your eastside homepatch of Lents for the relocated ballpark? I have some chits owing to the light rail folks and we can claim that the ballpark can help our transit friends get ridership for the new eastside rail and you'll be the Savior for Lents and the eastside. Thanks for coming and slip this into your backpocket before you leave. Want a winecooler?"

ajr, you're really curious to wonder what the neighbors of other nearby parks would say if they would learn that -- gasp -- people would be playing in those parks?

Lents park has 3 soccer fields, one of which is also used as a pee-wee football field, and a baseball diamond. we're not talking about the displacement of hundreds of activties, here. the absorption of the activities that currently take place on these fields by other nearby parks would be virually unnoticed.

It isn't just the activities that need to be accommodated, it is the NO NET LOSS of greenspaces that needs to be provided.

There is plenty of reason to oppose this business on strictly economic and livability grounds -- the public will take a huge loss and an economic and social dead zone will be created around this thing, as multiple studies and publications document -- but Lents and SE generally should not have to give up the huge good that greenspaces represent.

Shall we take bets as to how much greenspace is found in the neighborhoods where the proponents of this boondoggle live? Lents and SE need MORE greenspace, not less.

I can sure as shootin' tell you any overflow from Lents in my neighborhood parks would be noticed. We are a "parks deficient" neighborhood.

I'm with you dyspeptic, SE needs MORE green space, not less.

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