Members of the Las Vegas City Council have been offered a taxpayer-paid trip to Portland, OR to visit a MLS game there, and learn how Portland has benefited from its city-owned stadium. I thought it might be cheaper to research the topic online.
The MLS team in Portland plays at Providence Stadium, which was built in 1926 with private funds. The city of Portland bought it in 1966 for $2-million – about $15-million in today’s inflation-adjusted dollars. It was the home of the Portland Beavers, Oregon’s Triple-A minor league baseball team, for longer than the Stars/51s have been at Cashman Field. In 2010, after talking about finding the Beavers a new facility and converting the stadium to a soccer facility, the Portland City Council ditched the “find the Beavers a new home” part and converted the stadium, evicting the Beavers. The cast-off Beavers today have morphed into a minor league team in Texas called the El Paso Chihuahuas. Portland now has a single-A team called the HIllsboro Hops.
The conversion of the facility to soccer cost $36-million dollars, with a complicated financing scheme that seems to put most of the burden on Portland taxpayers, if you read enough about it. Inside talk at Las Vegas City Hall suggest round numbers for the proposed Cordish deal are quite a bit larger – $300-million with half paid for by Las Vegas taxpayers.
It will be interesting to see if any of the council members who make the trip come back thinking how comparatively inexpensive it would be to convert Cashman Field into a soccer stadium.
For more on the Portland MLS stadium: