Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Letter to the council: Save the beautiful park

A game-changer for Lents? You bet it is and not for the better.

Lents Park is a small, beautiful community park that has just been renovated for Little League. There are two soccer fields, horseshoe pits, basketball courts, a children's play area, a walking path, small dog park and Walker Stadium, all sitting in a residential neighborhood with one-lane, each way streets surrounding it in an already highly - congested traffic area.

The Oregonian's Editorial on May 31 uses the Triple A Team, the Express in Round Rock, Texas, as a favorable example for building a stadium at Lents. The Texas stadium is on the OUTSKIRTS of Round Rock, not dumped in the middle of a residential area.

When "urban stadiums"(residential areas) is Googled, the results show they do not make money. Far from it, they end up costing money with increased crime, more taxes, noise, traffic and lowered property values. In hindsight, they are considered mistakes.

Will the "triumvirate" of Randy Leonard, Sam Adams and Merritt Paulson buy out homeowners who don't want to live across the street from a stadium with all the problems? I don't think they'll be able to sell their homes otherwise. Let's see, increased crime, panhandling, littering, noise, late night games, overflow parking, tail gate parties and fans drinking before, during and after the games then getting in their cars and heading home. Wow, what a deal. Those homes should sell in a heartbeat!

How about those three night games each week (some during the school year), starting at 7:05 p.m. and finishing late - extra innings 11:00, later? Perhaps the "triumvirate" will be there for security, traffic control and noise abatement so school kids and all residents can get some sleep.

The weekend games should bring traffic on 82nd and 92nd (and side streets) to a total standstill (guess we taxpayers can pay for widening the roads in a year or two!), that is, if Mr. Paulson's claim that attendance peaked at 100,000 the past year is correct and not just a figure pulled out of midair to justify the new stadium. I find that figure hard to believe. According to people who have attended games the stadium was almost empty with attendance of only a few hundred.

Why are there no figures posted on any of the Beaver websites pertaining to game attendance or gate receipts? Why does a team that has had trouble in the past filling a stadium deserve a new one and why does it have to be dumped in the middle of a residential area?

While Mr. Leonard is contemplating his baseball stadium and soccer project and the huge expense, ultimately, to taxpayers, Oregon has big-time budget problems and people are trying to stay afloat in a miserable economy. Perhaps he should get his mind off of sports and on to something more important….like easing traffic congestion or keeping residential areas "residential", keeping those areas safe and as crime-free as possible and saving one the few parks for everyone to enjoy - not just baseball fans. He wasn't elected by Mr. Paulson and the Portland Beavers fan base.

Please research those cities that have put stadiums in residential areas and now regret doing it. Those of us who live in S. E. Portland and will have to cope with the problems of this proposed stadium should be your first priority. There is, I am sure, other properties more suitable for a baseball stadium than a little community park, surrounded by homes in an already highly congested traffic area. Why not Delta Park?

Portland is the last major city in this country to have a City Commissioner form of government. If the Lents Park fiasco is the best it can do, it's time for a change.

Anyone who votes for this sleazy, ever-changing, cockamamie, backroom deal has lost my vote.

Susan Oja

SE Portland resident

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