Stadiums v. Schools: your voice needed at City Hall

Update: Council approved the measure with an amendment introduced by Dan Saltzman removing the $15 million from a new urban renewal district around PGE Park. Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz voted no on the modified deal. Kudos to Saltzman for taking the county and school district into account, and for Fish and Fritz for opposing the deal outright. If the city doesn’t come up with the $15 million by September, the deal is off.

Original post:

The Portland City Council votes tomorrow today on a deal that would commit something like $89 million of public funds to build one stadium and renovate another for Merritt Paulson, the millionaire son of Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The source of the funds would be Tax Increment Financing from a new urban renewal district.

Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen and state representative Nick Kahl explain how this takes money from our schools and social services, and City Commissioner Amanda Fritz explains how this type of deal is at odds with her vision of spending scarce public funds in the neighborhoods where people live (among other things).

Amanda is the only City Commissioner who appears likely to oppose the deal at this time. Randy Leonard and Sam Adams are definite yes votes; Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish may be on the fence.

This is on the agenda for 9:30 am Wednesday, March 11. If you are unable to attend, please call or send e-mail to Fish (503-823-3589, and Saltzman (503-823-4151, in particular, urging them to oppose this welfare-for-the-rich deal.

Update: Multnomah County chair Ted Wheeler will testify against the stadium deal tomorrow, as will PPS school board member Trudy Sargent (see below).

Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.