Thursday, March 12, 2009

Strangely, I'm Still Torn About MLS ...

And it's not for lack of trying to make sense of the two advocacies for it.

First of all, I remember the NASL Timbers and the years of "Soccer City, USA". If any city can make that happen, it was PDX. And man, the NASL Timbers were hot.

In the corner of advocacy for, we have the argument that the nearby USL teams are going big league, leaving the Timbers as the only USL team for hundreds of miles in any direction, and the story that the Paulsen family are putting up enought money to make any potential loss to Portland taxpayers as near to zero as possible. There's also the prestige a major league team brings, the prospect of a new baseball stadium for the Beavers (something I thinkt they deserve after all these years) and, as Anna Griffin in The Oregonian pointed out, if you're waiting for a major league football or baseball team to come to town ... well, I wouldn't cross the street on those odds.

In the advocacy against, there's powerful arguments, mostly centering on the state of the economy, and the very real appearance that money that will go to the MLS team would have and should have gone to gapingly-open social needs, real needs, that this city has now and will have very soon. Also the prospect of using a new Urban Renewal district possibly to pay for it (they said it's off the table, but I don't entirely trust that assertion) and that Convention Center urban renewal funds will be used to pay for the new Beavers stadium. It's also a hell of a way for the old Memorial Coliseum to go out. All that, and the owner of the team is a man who, if his dad's any indication, feels that if he wants it he should get it no matter who pays for it.

I think we deserve a MLS level team. Portland's ready for it. But the way things are, it's an extravagance. Can we afford it at this time? Maybe not.

The claim of extra jobs–well, we've seen in other cities that that's a big bust usually.

But it would be cool to have MLS in town! And the Beavers in thier own house!

Maybe it seems a little juvenile, but as just J. Random PDX Citizen ... I just don't know.

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