Money Issue Troubling Some In Portland

Money Issue Troubling Some In Portland

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 31, 2009
  • Merritt Paulson, MLS Expansion, MLS Portland

I won’t lie anytime I see the news coming out of Portland I worry over their expansion club a bit. It seems like every bit of news now centers around the money issue with this club. We’ve all seen the number, the $26.8 million gap in the budget for the club.

Also the city isn’t in great shape financially, just like most of the country. Their chunk of the bid looks shaky everyday as well.

The Oregonian is reporting on how Merritt Paulson and his group are still looking for some cash.

Paulson and city leaders remain confident they can finish the deal by their Sept. 1 deadline. “It would appear tenuous to most people, I agree with that,” said city Commissioner Randy Leonard, one of the deal’s chief supporters. “It’s not tenuous to me.”

To fill the gap, Paulson is lobbying the Legislature for state aid and hasn’t ruled out seeking federal stimulus funding. Leonard and Portland Mayor Sam Adams say they’re exploring more city urban renewal money and new taxes on booze and food near the soccer team’s home at PGE Park.

Paulson also pledged his “best efforts” to use his family’s deep Wall Street connections to sell the bonds to wealthy investors or corporations. His father, Henry Paulson, is the former treasury secretary and former head of investment bank Goldman Sachs.

“There’s a lot of work to do on all sides,” Adams said. “At this point with these kinds of deals that is not uncommon. What is uncommon is the financial landscape, the world economic crisis.”

…Paulson and the city are left trying to fill a $26.8 million gap.

Paulson, whose family’s net worth has run into the nine figures, said bluntly: “That will not be from me.”

Paulson’s lobbyist, Greg Peden of the Gallatin Public Affairs, is pushing House Bill 2531 in Salem to carve out state income taxes paid by soccer players and executives to support the PGE Park renovation.

Its a shaky time to be asking for money. I’m kind of in the boat as some other blogs out there wondering when some rich third party will step in and help this bid out. Maybe another Drew Carey or Steve Nash type. Who else from Portland is rich and loves the beautiful game? Anyone?

So who can step up to help this club get off the ground here?