This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 19, 2009 6:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was The Army to the rescue -- illegally?. The next post in this blog is The condo developers' best friends. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tomorrow's the big day

It appears that yesterday's reports of a "postponement" of the announcement of the "upgrade" of Portland to "major" league soccer were greatly exaggerated. It now appears that the breaking of this news has been "postponed" merely to tomorrow. Reliable sources have spotted the commissioner of the league boarding a plane in New York, headed for Portland to share the news with Little Lord Paulson, Fireman Randy, and the 200 people who show up for soccer "rallies." Never was $150 million so foolishly spent. Go by streetcar!

Comments (63)

Yeah, it appears that it's a done deal. They even registered the name PortlandMLS2011.com on this past Tuesday


I think they'd have to be pretty confident that they were going to get a team in order to register that name.

Portland isn't the only city to throw tax money to the wind. Miami is trying to do the same thing with a tax funded baseball stadium.
This seems like small comfort...

Miami throwing tax dollars at a baseball stadium is no consolation. As much as I dislike baseball, at least the MLB is the best pro baseball in the world, unlike MLS, which figures to be about the 10th best pro soccer league.

Only real consolation is that all of this foolishness only improves Sam's chances of being unemployed (at least by the city of portland) come end of summer.

I wonder how many of these "soccer supporters" realize that a season ticket to Lord Paulson's soccer stadium will cost them close to a month's wages for a decent seat? Or how many of these people are even employed?

How many of them even pay taxes, most are young drunk a*****les

Most of the soccer fans who testified at the city council hearing last week looked moneyed and well-fed. Some looked like aging Frat Rats.

I think they'd have to be pretty confident that they were going to get a team in order to register that name.

Right, someone shelled out ten bucks. You don't do that on a wish and a prayer.

Probably friends or wanna bes of LLP hoping for an invite to that house in the Hamptons next summer.

Never was $150 million so foolishly spent.

With the Fed's announcement of new policy yesterday, there's a decent chance that this borrowed money will be repaid with someone's change from a hot dog purchase.

I hope the city is planning to take the house in the Hamptons and other tangible assets as collateral for the payments the Paulsons are going to guarantee.

A Hopeful:
I like your idea of collateral!

Actually, the average cost of a season ticket to an MLS game is about $240. on the high end, like for the LA galaxy, it goes to $310

I would like to invite all of you to experience a Portland Timbers game before they move into MLS. Come out on April 30 and sit with us in 107. We would love to talk with you on all of the jobs this new stadium will build, all of the money that will be flowing back into the economy from ticket taxes to other teams and fans staying in portland. I just hope that everyone who is so against it has an opportunity to see what its all about before they continue hating it.

"We would love to talk with you on all of the jobs this new stadium will build"

Why not just tell us now about the 300 new jobs Paulson is going to bring? I am assuming they are real jobs paying, say, $30K/year. Which means they will cost Mr Paulson $15M a year.

Why not tell us how much Timbers fans kick back into the economy now? Like all 7000 on average.

That's the whole problem with this is that everything hinges on one phrase, "Paulson will pay for it" and then we just stop thinking.

"Actually, the average cost of a season ticket to an MLS game is about $240. on the high end, like for the LA galaxy, it goes to $310"

That still won't be enough. If you take the debt service ($40M for the franchise and $85M for the improvments at 6% over 30 years) you get about $9M. Add the $15M for the new jobs and he has to generate $24M a year for these 3 things. This is not paying for anything else like existing jobs and profit.

Assume the total attendance between the Bevos and Timbers to be about 600K/year and each ticket needs to generate about $40/ticket on average for the Timbers and Beavers.

Time to break out the pitchforks and torches . . .

I have been to Timbers games, probably before you were born.

ooooo.....all those jobs...selling fast food and raking the grass...
Do those jobs pay $45k a year, include family health insurance and a Tri-Met pass? NOT!
Thanks for the invite, but I think I will pass on fattening LLP's wallet.

Great Idea wrote : "I would like to invite all of you to experience a Portland Timbers game before they move into MLS. Come out on April 30 and sit with us in 107. We would love to talk with you"

Ooooohhhhh maybe you could teach us some of the classy obscene chants also....

Did Little Lord Paulson take into account the real attendance numbers when a game is not played on a Thirsty Thursday ???

I'm glad the MLS is coming to Portland.

What kills me is that Portland is going to spend 150 million dollars to build a new Minor League Ballpark.

Portland is a major league city and we're building MINOR LEAGUE BALLPARKS! Really?


It's not the soccer; it's the finagling about finances and the location of the proposed baseball stadium.

"How many of them even pay taxes, most are young drunk a****les"

blaught! oops...i'm to drunchnn to pay my taxz..

Get real man. We have jobs, families, run the full spectrum of political views, cultures, ages and perspectives. We volunteer at hospitals, in schools at for those in need. We share a love for our city and for our Timbers. I've been going to matches since the 70's and even in the 80's when the team was made up mostly of local college grads. If being a hater is what make you feel good about yourself, then by all means.

But I invite you all to come on out to a match, sit in the north end, share pint of your favorite beverage and take in the fun. I'd be happy to sit with anyone on this blog and talk (rationally) about why I (cause I don't speak for everyone) love the sport and especially the Timbers. It may not be your cup of coffee or pint of beer, but at least you may have a different perspective of what over 8000 supporters sound like when at a soccer match. A little different experience than what I have had at a Blazer game (a different--and more expensive, kind of fun)

I really believe that it is so easy to judge people you don't know. I don't take it personally...how could I?

It will be a great day for the city.

Why not build "Memorial Stadium" in the Rose Quarter and make it compatible with football (maybe that's already the plan) so that the Civil War game and one OSU and one Oregon home game each season can be played in Portland?

Rose City Supporter - Why are soccer games inextricably linked with alcohol? Are soccer fans not able to enjoy the games without it?

theres no money coming from the states general fund. its coming from spectator funds that are set up just for this. PGE and rose garden ticket taxes go into the spectator fund. the education, road, general, and urban renewal funds are left untouched. Paulson is paying a giant chunk of the renovation costs, but yes tehre is some money coming from the general spectator fund that was set up by the city for just such an event. You should go to the game on april 30 and see what MLS is all about. Sit in 107 and everyone will be more than happy to talk with on you why you think its not a good idea while you experience what MLS is all about instead of hating on it with no idea about it. You don't have to drink alcohol if you dont want to, but most people enjoy it. at blazer games, baseball games, and yes soccer games people drink beer its just something the majority of people do. If you guys get your facts straight, or even attend one game and sit in 107 you can call all of us iraq war vetrans, taxpayers, buisness owners and anyone that enjoys a timbers game drunk youths that dont pay taxes or benifit the city in any way. I have no problem with you being opposed to MLS, I have a problem that your facts are skewed and your main arguement is "the city has to pay for this and you dont even pay taxes"

A Hopeful...
As for alcohol, I think it is common in all sports. In my experience, I have attended games at OSU and U of O (I attended neither, my father has OSU season tickets) and found the use of alcohol to be far greater as part of the tailgating culture. I can't speak to the societal issues involved, but I understand that when I attend game with my kids that we don't go to pregame or postgame pubs and 1 or 2 drink max (if any...I don't always drink at games). We ride the MAX to games (I think the number I have heard is 65% of those attending games also take public transit) which mitigates some of the consumption (no parking lot).
Again, supporters are all types. Some overindulge and some don't indulge at all. We come to support the club and to share in the camaraderie.
I hope I answered your question. It's a pretty broad topic that I am not sure follows what this topic is about, but I think I get where you are going with it.

RCTID - You are the one who doesn't understand the financing. Read HB 2531 which will amend state law to divert state general fund dollars to the Major League Stadium Grant Fund.


What the brainwashed bush league soccer fans are forgetting, is the minor issue of a 15 million deficit... And two years is a long time for a league on the skids..

I doubt the MLS will be around in 2011...

Gotta run! Last comment for now:

RoseCitySupporter - another problem with using urban renewal dollars for this project is that it may take away dollars from law enforcement which should go to saturation patrols around PGE Park to get the drunk drivers out of their vehicles.

A.H.--not following your logic there. No URD money for PGE Park (that was taken of the table). As per my previous post, 65% (or more) of fans use public transit. To my knowledge, there have not been incidents you have described. It seems as there is a mishmash of thought combined to make a point that I am not sure is fact.

Needless to say, I'm not here to change your mind on the matter. The initial reason for posting was to make an invitation and to provide a different perspective on those who attend soccer matches. Labeling is something of a peeve for me.

I am not a expert on the nuances of the deal and I am sure that we could all find something to quibble over. In the end, the deal looks sealed and I, for one, am glad for it.

Invitation still on the table. Hope to meet you all at a match sometime. I'll check back now and again to see if there are any takers.


Fonzi: a league on the skids? you may want to tell VW, American Airlines, and Panasonic, who have all renewed their advertising deals for longer contracts.

The Arena League had Discover Card, Mitsubishi, and Russell Athletic as sponsors, and a TV contract with ABC, and they still went under.

I'm an old drunk a****le. Get your facts straight. Of course, judging from the content on this site and this thread, the concept of facts is....particularly fluid.

MLS will be producing enough oil within six months to cover all of the costs.

I wonder if Paulson will allow 107 to remain a fan section or whether he will want to make it available exclussively for season ticket holders, moving TA to the upper seats.

If Bend it Like Beckham could not make the league take off...... Nothing will...

The 300 or so jobs that will be "created" are really the same people that would normally be working the event at PGE Park. No, having two separate stadiums does not mean there will be twice as many events and twice as many jobs. You don't have to be a "hater" on soccer to realize that.

Likewise, all these supporters who keep saying the stadium will pay for itself . . . that is if (a big "if" in many people's eyes) the soccer team stays there for the full term of repayment and keeps paying the rent. If the team disappears for greener pastures or the league folds, guess who is stuck with a nice empty playing arena? Or do you not talk about those possibilities in Section 107?

Mike - the financing proposal set forth provides provisions for if the entire thing goes belly-up and also locks the teams into long-term leases and guarantees to stay in Portland. Whether you trust personal guarantees (not backed by an LLC - personal) backed by letters of credit is up to you. Such guarantees did not exist in the 2001 PGE remodel. Shortstop LLC's operation of PGE Park since 2007 has provided stability for those previous repayments that did not exist and those payment are current. Paulson is investing in the neighborhood of $60 million of his family's money in this project. He has tremendous incentive to make it work for all concerned.

"Whether you trust personal guarantees (not backed by an LLC - personal) backed by letters of credit is up to you."

Sorry, Paulson is way smarter than Randy plus it's not Randy's money vs. it is Paulson's money.

Again, the whole thing depends on the "Paulson's paying for it" theory. Paulson (see abve) has a pretty big nut to overcome just to pay back his bills, so this is not making sense.

But who cares? We have soccer.

"Why not build "Memorial Stadium" in the Rose Quarter and make it compatible with football (maybe that's already the plan) so that the Civil War game and one OSU and one Oregon home game each season can be played in Portland?"

Because that would require building a stadium much larger than would fit in that footprint.

Reser Stadium in Corvallis held over 46,000 people for the 2008 Civil War (sold out capacity). Autzen Stadium in Eugene held over 59,000 for the 2007 Civil War (standing room only).

If they built a stadium that was big enough to hold the interest for the Civil War, a MLS game would seem even more empty than PGE Park does today.

And by the way, the University of Oregon sells out every seat to just about every home game, and Oregon State rarely has less than 40,000 in attendance to every home game, and those numbers get bigger every year as more people become interested in what Mike Riley & Co. do with OSU Football.

What it really comes down to, is that there are 100,000 people in the Willamette Valley willing to drive to Corvallis or Eugene to see NCAA Division-I Football, 7 or 8 times a season. Lots of them come from Portland, and the tri-county area. They do it, because they want to.

Division-1 Football is a marketable product that people want to see. It dominates television in the fall. It bends big business to it's will. It has a regular season that no other sport or league can match, because every single game matters.

Shoving soccer down the throats of the Metro area won't cause them to go to games. It won't cause them to care. You can't make someone pay for a ticket and a beer.

If there was a market for MLS soccer in Portland that made fiscal sense, we wouldn't have to subsidise it with $150,000,000 of our taxpayer dollars that could be doing much more important work (read: fixing infrastructure, educating kids, keeping streets safe, etc.)

Tonight soccer intersects with reality here in America. You have the big MLS season opener between Seattle and New York on ESPN2. (I am not bitter and I promise to check it out a little.) But on CBS you have March Madness with brackets from the President on down and office pools across the country. And that's not even the minor leagues - those are college kids.
Here in Portland you can also watch a depleted Blazers squad try and deal with LeBron James.
See why soccer is a long shot to make it?
BTW, I understand not wanting to hear what Jack has to say about Portland's finances - it is a little depressing - but he also has a track record of being right.
Personally, I gravitate towards good journalism over city council happy talk. That's why I read these posts. He's been right about the tram, South Waterfront, and the condo market in general. If the Oregonian took this as seriously as Jack does, I would still read that, too.
But this is a happy time. MLS is starting up again and all across America TV sets will be tuned to something else. Go Sounders!

MachinesaidFred and others: The label of $150,000,000 of taxpayer dollars is way off the mark. The only place I've seen that figure is here.

The financing of the city-owned facilities is expected to use about $65-68 million in bonds paid back by usage taxes at the two facilities, rents on the two facilities and perhaps by URD streams, one existing and one in planning. Paulson is investing private funds into the public facilities as well and is covering cost overruns if they exceed $2.5 million.

Just a bit of facts for you. Not that you want them.

I think anyone who's experienced the City's last few boondoggle projects can conservatively assume at least a 200% actual cost compared to the present estimates.

What is frustrating that a lot of those "cost overruns" don't necessarily come from the things we can't control, but can factor into the bid (inflation, future cost of steel, etc.), but from the bull***t add-ons that Sam Adumbs and his ilk decide to include after the project has been approved (let's spend more for a SHINY silver bubble tram instead of a standard boxy one, let's get our choo-choo trains from Czech Republic instead of Colorado, let's install a $6 million used bike bridge instead of a $1 utilitarian concrete bridge).

Don't sit there and tell me that Paulson, Adumbs, and Leonard won't turn down the option to spend more to get LEED-certified greenhouse gas reducing windmills along the roof of the new baseball stadium and a one-of-a-kind coffee machine that uses shade-grown free trade organic low sodium organic (said that already) coffee beans. All for just a few million more.

Okay, I'm back.

Now let's talk about the money to be provided by the state.

When the financial details first came out, the figure $15 million in state bonds was bandied about. Later, Raaaandy and Paulson Jr. started mumbling $5 million. Really, it's like a throwaway line for them.

House Bill 2531 will amend state law which established the Major League Stadium Grant Fund to add major league soccer.

Here's how that statute works, as I understand it, and I invite others to also read it to make sure I am correct. Warning: this is really dry stuff.

The Director of the Oregon Department of Revenue (ODR) will ESTIMATE the incremental tax revenues generated from the Oregon taxes of soccer players earning $40,000 or more, and their spouses. The Director of ODR will tell the Director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (ODAS) what the estimated amount is. The Director of ODAS will then ask the legislature to appropriate the amount of the estimated incremental tax revenues FROM THE GENERAL FUND and put it in the Major League Stadium Grant Fund to be disbursed under the grant agreements etc. At some point, the Director of ODOR will determine the ACTUAL incremental tax revenues generated by the soccer players and their spouses.

If the ACTUAL incremental tax revenues EXCEED the ESTIMATED incremental tax revenues, the Director of ODR has to notify the Director of ODAS and the Director of ODAS has to ask the legislature to appropriate MORE MONEY from the GENERAL FUND and put it in the Major League Stadium Fund for disbursal. (As an aside, interest earned by the Major League Stadium Grant Fund goes back into the fund.)

Maybe someone at ODR knows how to estimate the incremental tax revenues, and maybe not. Maybe the ACTUAL incremental tax revenues will only be $5 million as Raaandy and Paulson Jr. are claiming. But if that figure ends up being the ESTIMATED incremental tax revenue and the ACTUAL is the $15 million figure first put out there, well, you see where this is going. (And there is another possible wrinkle caused by the special statutory tax withholding rules for professional athletic teams. Hint, hint, Professor.)

House Bill 2531 had a public hearing on February 24, 2009 before the House Committee on Sustainability and Economic Development. Paulson Jr. testified at the hearing. According to a news report I read, one of the committee members asked how much this would cost the state. It did not report what the answer was. There are audio links to committee hearings at http://www.leg.state.or.us/listn/ for anyone interested.

There was a work session on House Bill 2531 on St. Patrick's Day. I don't yet know whether any changes were made to the bill. The Revenue Impact Statement merely recites that the revenue impact of the bill depends on whether or not a team will locate in Oregon and that further research will be done when the House Committee on Revenue gets the bill. Good timing or good gaming?

There's more, but this gets to the heart of it.

The whole payroll for the "major league" team will be around $2 million annually. Oregon income taxes are 9%. That's $180,000 a year. Chump change.

The other sudden tax increase is supposed to be from a surge in property taxes from around the stadiums. That didn't happen with the Rose Garden, and it didn't happen with PGE Park, but supposedly it's going to happen now with Paulson's two little palaces. Yeah, right.

I am sure that the homeless, unemployed and underemployed will be consoled by the presence of MLS, except that they will not be able to afford the $33 average ticket price to attend a game never mind afford a beer.

U of O has become a bloated sports kingdom with a university attached. Ask anyone who hasn't attended U of O what their programs of study and significant schools are expect some blank expressions. All anybody ever hears about are the new stadiums, special grants for sports, new uniforms, new logos and various teams. A recent potential draftee decided not to attend an Oregon school because playing here wouldn't get him into the NFL.

Why doesn't U of O promote its scholastic degree programs as Oregon State or even Portland State do? Because it seems to have made sports programs a priority when they should be incidental to classes . . . at least until U of O offers advanced degree programs for achievement in competitive intercollegiate sports.

How did $15 million become $5 million become $2 million?

The cost of a high end LA Galaxy season ticket is $2700, not $360. $360 is the lowest cost LA Galaxy season ticket.

I just checked out the product from Seattle. The stadium looked full, the crowd was singing, and it was an impressive sight to be sure.
The soccer looked clunky and the skill level needed adjusting to especially compared to the Italian League match on Channel 401.
I soon found the boredom level brought on by players in the 40-grand range compared to the multi-million pounders in England. But maybe that's just me.
Enjoy. Back to the Blazers. They're actually in the Cleveland game in the 3rd quarter. Who knew?

I still don't understand how much money will be taken out of the state's general fund in the next biennium, or beyond.

Also, what is the incremental tax revenue that will not go to the state over 25 years?
At $180,000 per year, it looks like $4.5 million over 25 years, but presumably salaries will go up if the team/league lasts more than a few years.

Here's a quote I hope the city commissioners keep in mind as they negotiate (in writing I hope) Mr. Paulson's "guarantee" to back up the funding:
"An outside consultant hired by the Portland City Council deemed the PGE Park deal with PFE one of the best in the United States. Payments to the City will be made up by PFE. This virtually guarantees that the City's debt will be repaid."
That quote used to be on the PGE Park website. Needless to say, it no longer is.

"Virtually guarantees" and "guarantees" are two different things.

The label of $150,000,000 of taxpayer dollars is way off the mark. The only place I've seen that figure is here.

But you didn't see it here. I didn't say taxpayer dollars. I said $150 million. Between the franchise fee and the stadiums' final costs, it will be at least that much of somebody's money. Exactly whose depends on who's gullible enough to buy Paulson's sales pitch.

No URD money for PGE Park (that was
taken of the table).

Wrong. There won't be a new URD around PGE Park. But a ton of URD dough will be siphoned off out of the existing Convention Center district.

Property taxes are going to pay for those stadiums. That's a real drag.

Ugh Bill, cheering on the Sounders, really? Go Timbers!

I cheered against Seattle when they played against Pele and the New York Cosmos in Civic Stadium back in the day. So it evens out. Seattle has a player named Moreno(?) who brought the skill.
But overall in the brief time I looked in, there was a ton of pinball back and forth. For soccer to be truly brilliant you have to see a story line unfold. I'm not just talking about successful buildups but 5 minute stretches where one side deals on the other, then retreats.
The announcer even said, "If you did that overseas you'd be taken out" after one lame play.
I'll tell you one thing: The team from New York had better improve. Pretty ragged.
Oh well, there's a lot of things that have to go right before we even make it to 2011 as a country, so on to the next civic debate - such as it was.

I thought I heard the Mayor say that the $15 million shortfall, or some of it, will come from PDC.

"MachinesaidFred and others: The label of $150,000,000 of taxpayer dollars is way off the mark. The only place I've seen that figure is here.

Okay. Fair enough.

Nice job completely missing my point though. Please to be explaining why the city council is so infatuated with a sports stadium while cutting an entire police precinct?

I want to correct something I posted above about HB 2531.

When asked by a committee member at the February 24, 2009 hearing on HB 2531 how much money the bill would keep out of the state's general fund, M Paulson said:

"It's a chicken and egg thing. Those salaries are not here unless the team is here to begin with."

How's that for a direct answer?

When the big announcement was made, a photograph was taken of Mayor Creepy holding up a scarf or banner that read, "NO PITY IN THE ROSE CITY." That sort of says it all.

Nobody knows where the missing $15 million is coming from. The Mayor says, "I have 'til August to find it." Leonard looked like a deer in the headlights when questioned. When KATU tried to question Paulson, he brushed the reporter off with the brusque statement, "The City will take care ot it" before turning his back to hold court before fawning supporters.

The event was stuffed with members of the Timber Army cheering, punching the air and twirling towels.

We are borrowing on a large scale and stealing from the city at large to finance unnecessary, privately-owned entertainment that will be enjoyed by a minority of Portland's citizens.

Portland is going to use Obama stimulus money for their share. They are applying for Obama bucks to replace the water department headquarters on Interstate Avenue. They plan to sell that facility for $65 million (that's a laugh!) and use some of the proceeds for the soccer deal. To Sam the Tram and Pele the Fireman $15 million is like 15 cents. No problemo. It's fun playing god with other people's money.

I still think they may be counting on $15 million from the state general fund. Maybe Salem has sent them a message that there's no way it will happen this session. But if HB 2531 keeps moving toward passage, then I think that's where most of the "shortfall" will come from.

Or the rest may come from federal stimulus funds, as you have suggested, if the city can figure out how to wash the money so citizens won't report it to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

Clicky Web Analytics