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Friday, June 19, 2009

Commissioners' Thoughts on Paulson's Pullout

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 2:56 PM

This morning's surprise news from Merritt Paulson is giving the city commissioners a lot to work out as they head back the drawing board on the Major League Soccer deal. We already reported that Mayor Adams is confidently moving ahead with MLS, hoping to draw funding from a variety of sources, and Leonard is threatening to pull his support for Major League Soccer unless Paulson reconsiders.

So what do the other three votes on Council think of the MLS deal now that the Lents stadium is likely out of the picture (unless Leonard gets his way)? Nick Fish has yet to return a call for comment, but here's the rundown from the offices of the other two Commissioners who had cold feet about the deal.

Dan Saltzman thinks Paulson's pullout is a good idea. "It does increase my confidence that MLS could work. There are still funding constraints, but it definitely takes some pressure off the city to not have to worry about the Beavers in Lents," says Saltzman, who adds that he's not "absolutely opposed" to the idea of urban renewal funding the MLS stadium as long as the city goes through the proper process to snag those dollars. "I'm not for letting the soccer stadium needs drive the creation of a new urban renewal area," he says, referring to the still-fictional Central City URA that may need to be tapped to renovate PGE park.

On the other hand, Amanda Fritz policy manager Tim Crail says Fritz is still completely opposed to the idea of tapping urban renewal funds for the soccer stadium. "I think she would view it as a problem to take funds that from a URA that doesn't exist," says Crail.

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