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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

El Pato Feliz is the Center of the Universe

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Big news is breaking on the $50 million Lents Stadium deal and in a bizarre turn of events, Lents Mexican restaurant El Pato Feliz is at the center of it all. Three separate groups involved in deciding the future of the Lents Triple-A stadium deal all decided to meet tonight at "The Happy Duck" tonight at the same time.

First, commissioner Randy Leonard arranged a meeting at El Pato Feliz with Urban Renewal Advisory Committee Chair Cora Potter and stadium deal critic Steve Novick. No press invited, thank you.

THEN organizers for stadium opposition group Friends of Lents Park independently decided to meet there, hot on the heels of the news that the Oregon Legislature approved skimming stadium funding from player's salaries in tight vote this afternoon. Governor Kulongoski has said he will NOT VOTE SIGN the bill and if it does not pass, the proposed budget scenarios for the stadium will need to be rewritten. When Friends of Lents Park organizer Nick Christensen showed up to El Pato and saw Leonard and Novick, he quickly decided to relocate the meeting to a nearby bar.

BUT Leonard and friends still will not be alone! Lents neighborhood association (LNA) member Jeff Rose announced this afternoon that he is launching a recall campaign of outspokenly pro-stadium LNA chair Damien Chakwin. Rose decided to collect signatures tonight at - you guessed it - El Pato Feliz. This is what happens when a neighborhood has no leather-chaired cigar bars for political insiders to occupy! Rose says Chawkin's "rude and gruff" demeanor has caused division within the neighborhood and alienated people who disagree with Chakwin on the stadium deal and other issues. "The best person to be leading the neighborhood association is someone who's a uniter. And he just doesn't do a very good job at that," says Rose.

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