Dear Friends of Lents Park Members and Supporters:
Friday was an exhilarating day, with Beavers owner Merritt Paulson's sudden announcement that he is withdrawing his proposal for a stadium in Lents Park due to a "lack of community support" (read his letter at http://www.kgw.com/news/pdf/paulson.pdf). It looks like we've won this! However, the stake is not quite driven through the heart of this whoppingly ill-conceived stadium idea. Commissioner Leonard is resorting to blackmail, threatening to torpedo Major League Soccer at PGE Park if Paulson does not reinstate his proposal. The Oregonian, in a bizarre editorial Saturday, says "if the plug is going to be pulled on a baseball stadium in Lents, it shouldn't be Merritt Paulson pulling it" (http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/06/navigating_through_lents.html). And it appears some in our own neighborhood may still be trying to do an end run around the democratic process and woo Paulson back.
We know our members are tired and needing to catch up on home and family life. We know you want this whole sorry episode to be over as much as we do. But more action is still required to make sure this Lents Park stadium idea stays off the table for good! You all did AWESOME at Thursday's URAC meeting. Please help us stay the course and keep the bulldozers out of our beautiful park.
Read on for three upcoming dates that need to go on your calendar, and a couple of additional action items:
1. Lents Neighborhood Association Meeting, Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 7:00 p.m., Lents Seventh-Day Adventist Church (8835 SE Woodstock Blvd.)
This meeting was announced at the end of Thursday's URAC meeting, but Friday's announcement by Paulson threw into doubt whether this meeting would still happen. We have since confirmed that (1) yes, this meeting will happen; and (2) it will be devoted entirely to the stadium question, with a vote of neighborhood residents to be taken.
It is extremely important that ALL stadium opponents who live in the Lents neighborhood physically attend this meeting if at all possible. This includes ALL adult members of your household. Bring picture ID or other proof of Lents neighborhood residency, so you can cast your vote. If you can only do one thing for the anti-stadium campaign next week, make it this meeting!
Both Commissioner Leonard and the Oregonian are maintaining that Thursday's huge anti-stadium turnout at the URAC meeting was somehow not the "real" Lents neighborhood. While this is ridiculous, let's not give stadium backers any excuse for wooing Paulson back. Let's have the proper democratic vote that our neighborhood needs and deserves (and that Friends of Lents Park has been demanding for weeks) and make it clear once and for all that our neighborhood doesn't want this stadium!
Lents neighborhood boundaries are Powell Blvd. to the north, Clackamas County line to the south, 112nd Ave. to the east, and 82nd Ave. to the west. Anyone able to show proof of residence within these boundaries will be eligible to vote. LNA has promised there will be child care available at the meeting.
2. Possible Urban Renewal Advisory Committee (URAC) meeting, Thursday, June 25, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., location to be announced.
At the end of last Thursday's URAC meeting, it was announced that URAC would meet again to vote on June 25th, with the location to be announced on PDC's website (www.pdc.us/lents). The status of this meeting is now unclear. With Paulson having withdrawn his proposal, URAC seems to have nothing on the table to vote ON. However, Commissioner Leonard and the Oregonian both continue to insist that "URAC should be allowed to vote."
As of this alert, PDC's website contains no confirmation that this meeting is going forward, nor any notice that it has been canceled. We will continue to monitor, and keep you informed. Meanwhile, please mark your calendars and check PDC's website yourselves. We can't afford to ignore this meeting, as it might provide a back-door way to get a Lents Park stadium back on the table.
3. Friends of Lents Park neighborhood victory party! Saturday, June 27, noon - 3:00 p.m., at the gazebo in the park. (Please note corrected date!)
Let's celebrate our victory in getting Paulson to take his rotten stadium proposal off the table! Hopefully by this time, the LNA and URAC processes will have run their course, and we will be able to safely say it is off the table for good!
Bring a potluck dish to share if you would like. Power will be on and a sound system set up, for any musicians who would like to entertain us. (If you can suggest a band, contact us at email@example.com)
We apologize for the confusion over the date of this. Our first e-mail had no date specified, and the second one had an incorrect date. Saturday, June 27 is the correct date.
4. Write the Oregonian!
The Oregonian's Saturday editorial on the Lents stadium question (http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/06/navigating_through_lents.html) is nothing short of outrageous. The editorial board seems to join Commission Leonard in asserting that Merritt Paulson has no right to withdraw his own stadium proposal, and makes further bizarre statements, calling URAC "the only official body representing Lents on the subject." (Excuse me: we have a neighborhood association, just like every other Portland neighborhood, and it's going to meet Tuesday.) Their characterization of URAC meeting attendees is insulting in the extreme.
In fact, the public testimony component of the URAC meeting was quite orderly. 41 people testified, all but two of whom were anti-stadium. All testifiers respected the time limits, and their testimony was articulate, passionate and reasonable. The only testifier who resorted to insults was a pro-stadium business owner, who stereotyped the neighborhood as full of "crackheads."
Yes, Merritt Paulson and Randy Leonard were heckled and booed. The public should judge for themselves whether these men's behavior towards our neighborhood merited this reaction. Leonard's presentation at the URAC hearing was extremely insulting towards Lents residents, claiming that those against the stadium were uninformed. (Although the only example he gave of "misinformation" was the Portland Parks Board's estimate of trees to be cut down. At this same meeting, Beavers representative Greg Peden admitted that he couldn't say for sure how many trees would be cut down. The Portland Parks Board initially estimated 177 trees; the Parks Bureau has since released an estimate of 107 trees. In the absence of firm data from the Beavers, why should these numbers not be relied on?)
If you have time to write one more letter this week, the public needs to hear that the Oregonian's Editorial Board is full of it. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org, and limit to 150 words.
5. Please take a moment and complete PDC's "survey."
Click http://pdc.us/ura/lents_town_center/lentssurvey.asp for an online survey of urban renewal priorities in general and the stadium in particular. This is an online version of the same survey that URAC meeting attendees took at the meeting last Thursday. Although this survey does not ask outright whether respondents want a stadium or not, you will have the opportunity to say how important it is to have "amenities that make Lents an entertainment destination" (meeting attendees rated this the lowest possible priority) and to state what benefits a stadium is likely to have (an overwhelming majority of meeting attendees marked "no benefits.")
This is not a top priority, but provides additional ammunition for getting the stadium taken off the table for good.
Thank you all so much for your hard work on this campaign! Watch your e-mail and our website for updates.
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