Looks like a bust-up of epic proportions is now happening:
I certainly understand why you would be upset after the way you were treated at last night’s meeting. It was my intention to meet with you later today and express to you my deep regret for the behavior displayed by some of the folks in attendance at last night’s meeting.
However, I fear you have confused what can only be characterized as a mob on the verge of being out of control with the vast majority of Lents residents who are hard working and thoughtful people.
Your unilateral decision to withdraw Lents from consideration as a location for the Beaver’s is not in keeping with our agreement to allow the Lents Urban Renewal Advisory Committee to exhaust their process before any decision about other potential locations for the Beaver’s are considered.
I am requesting that you recant your announcement to withdraw from Lents and respect the URAC’s process, which includes allowing them the opportunity to vote on the stadium proposal.
If you cannot do that, I cannot support the resolution next week agreeing to bring Major League Soccer to Portland.
I am very sorry for the way you were treated last night. However, I hope you recognize that you would be disrespecting the vast majority of Lents residents if you do not agree to allow their URAC members to vote on the Stadium proposal.
I hope to discuss this further with you today. I look forward to us talking….Randy
"He made a deal with me," says Leonard. "I agreed to bifurcate the process for baseball and soccer and support MLS as long as he promised to let the Lents URAC exhaust its process. By sending out that letter this morning he broke his word to me."
Unless Paulson rescinds his letter and agrees to follow the lead of the Lents URAC, says Leonard, "I'm not voting for MLS next week."
When he took the microphone last night a the packed URAC meeting, Paulson has welcomed by thunderous boos and hostile shouts. Leonard thinks that jeering response triggered Paulson's letter. "He's upset and people do things when they're upset that that they'll regret," says Leonard, who thinks Paulson should listen to the URAC's vote rather than being swayed by "the mob" that came out for the public meeting last night. "There's a lot of hard working people in Lents who are thoughtful and deliberate and don't get caught up as if they were a mob," says Leonard.
Here's Nick Christensen from Friends of Lents Park responding to being called a "mob" by Leonard.
"Last night was a great showing by the Lents community. I was very sad to hear what Commissioner Leonard had to say about the way he was treated last night. While he got his share of boos, that doesn't even rank in the top 5 of the most contentious meetings I've been to. There were some interruptions, but I thought the crowd represented Lents in a very positive manner last night."
"I don't think they were booing Randy Leonard or Merritt Paulson. I think they were booing this plan. Randy Leonard has been a champion for Lents and we look forward to working with him in turning this energy and awareness into a positive for the community. Lents is a great, safe neighborhood, and with the opening of the Green Line just months away, now is the time to be thinking about how the Lents Town Center should evolve and grow."
Here's video by Sarah Mirk of Paulson addressing the neighbors last night:
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