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Thursday, June 25, 2009

PGE Park renovation cost numbers seem awfully soft

A thoughtful reader wrote us yesterday:

There are a couple of problems with the story that was posted earlier this afternoon on the Portland Tribune's website regarding the city council's vote today on separating negotiations for MLS soccer from those for Triple-A baseball.

First, the story makes it sound as if Paulson has been given the go-ahead to draw up plans, which is what the resolution discussed on April 15 was all about. But the only thing that today's resolution does is separate the two issues, so the MLS deal can be negotiated separately. Was that resolution from April 15 ever approved? I thought it got bumped from the agenda for its second reading when the Memorial Coliseum issue flared up.

Second, the story makes only passing reference to Montreal's interest in getting Portland's franchise. That completely misrepresents what's been going on behind the scenes for the past two months, as MLS Commissioner Don Garber has cooked up his deal with Montreal as a way of putting pressure on the Portland city council. So, basically, Garber is now calling the shots, not Paulson or the city council, which you'd never know from reading Redden's article.

And although Fritz has already made this point, why isn't the media screaming over the fact that Paulson has yet to provide any drawings of his own, or even a list of proposed renovations. How has he been able to come up with a $34 million cost estimate without any drawings? It all adds to the obvious point that the city's soccer task force was manipulated by Leonard and Adams into not doing even the most basic fact-checking. That alone should have long-since killed this deal. Why were Leonard and Adams ever allowed to even participate in what were supposed to be independent task force proceedings?

If things move forward, then another question to ask is whether or not the proposed new grandstands in the east end of the stadium should be designed with a steel, as opposed to a concrete, superstructure, so if and when soccer fails, they can be removed and PGE Park can be restored to its current configuration.

Finally, here's another alternative solution to consider. Since there are only 18-20 home matches in a season, why not gather up all the former roadies now house-bound and living in Portland with their wives and children. Then rent all of the portable grandstands, portapotties, and other fixin's that you'd need to build a temporary soccer-specific stadium, and build one from scratch for each match, at some location other than PGE Park. Hey, it works for the PGA whenever they have a major golf tournament.

Comments (3)

I am shocked, simply shocked that there would ever be cost overruns in a project involving the City of Portland. Round up the usual suspects.

Mmmhmm. With Paulson's shell company doing the construction, you can bet there is already HUGE overruns built in to that 34mil. It's likely a 15-20M project, if that...

Where DID they come up with $34M? With no drawings, no set of plans, how did they estimate labor and materials costs?
Or is it a case where you just throw a large number out, and if nobody winces you just do it on the cheap and pocket the rest..

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