City completes deal to bring MLS to Portland

The City of Portland today reached a final agreement with Peregrine, LLC to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Portland and renovate PGE Park.

News Release: the Office of Mayor Sam Adams

Portland, Ore. The City of Portland today reached a final agreement with Peregrine, LLC to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to Portland and renovate PGE Park. This effort will bring immediate construction jobs to Portland and continuing revenue, visitors, and vital spending to Portland's central city in the long term.

"I'm confident that this agreement will serve Portlanders now and for years to come," said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. "We will put construction workers back to work right away, and in the long-term, MLS represents a smart investment in Portland's future success. Building on the Northwest's long-standing soccer heritage, we can bring Portlanders together around another great sports team."

The public-private partnership exemplifies the City's commitment to supporting entrepreneurship in the business community, while better shielding its residents from financial risk. The City Council worked to ensure the terms are aligned with Portland's values and that Portlanders would be solidly protected from any downside risk:

  • No impact to the City's General Fund
  • No impact to the City's ability to provide basic services
  • No Urban Renewal funding

"It has been a long and tough negotiation to achieve an agreement with adequate safeguards for the City, but the protections for the City in this deal are unrivaled by similar agreements around the country," said Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard. "The next phase immediately delivers much needed family wage jobs to our City, and lays the foundation for a long and fruitful relationship between the citizens of Portland and its new Major League Soccer franchise."

The City's contribution to the multi-use, LEED Silver certified stadium will be financed primarily through private investment by the Paulsons and by revenues from sports spectators, as recommended by the Major League Soccer Task Force. The City's liability is limited through numerous personal guarantees from the Paulson family, which ensure that the City will receive projected revenue even if the new MLS franchise or the league fails.  Specifically, the Paulsons have made personal guarantees of operating revenue for 25 years and that the team will stay in the city for at least 25 years.

"This plan creates jobs, protects taxpayers from risk, brings MLS excitement to Soccer City U.S.A, and will showcase Portland and a transformed PGE Park to the world," said Merritt Paulson. "I want to thank Mayor Adams and Commissioner Leonard for their leadership and tough but fair negotiations and I encourage the entire city council to approve the plan in the coming days. Mostly, I want to thank our incredible fans who have the heart and soul to make this dream a reality."

The newly renovated stadium will also be used by Portland State University's football program and the general public for community events.  Additionally, Paulson has pledged an annual contribution to the Portland Parks Foundation to improve community soccer fields as part of his commitment to the public. The $31 million deal for the goes to City Council for approval on January 27. The City is eager to build the public-private partnership and will continue to work with Paulson to find a new home for AAA baseball.

For details on the terms of the agreement, follow this link.