Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday LNA Meeting STILL ON!

One, two, three strikes they're out, with their dumb plan to build a pro stadium in our park!
Following on the heels of Merritt Paulson's announcement last Friday that he was withdrawing his Lents Park stadium proposal, Monday has brought yet more nails in the coffin of the Lents Park stadium plan. First, the Urban Renewal Advisory Committee has announced they are canceling Thursday's voting meeting and will not be allocating ANY urban renewal money to a stadium, based on the lack of a private sector partner. (See their letter, attached to the end of this message.) YOU all accomplished this, with your brilliant and eloquent testimony last Thursday, so give yourselves a hand! Second, Randy Leonard has finally woken up and smelled the coffee, and has announced he is asking PDC to look at other stadium sites besides Memorial Coliseum and Lents Park. The Oregonian reports "Lents Park is now firmly out of the running...." (Read story at

YOU did this too, and even Commissioner Leonard is finally listening! So is it all over? Well, not quite. Friends of Lents Park is STILL asking Lents neighborhood residents to turn out for Tuesday night's Neighborhood Association meeting, at which a formal vote will be taken on the Lents Park stadium question. Why? So that there can never be any doubt that our neighborhood decisively rejected this proposal (as opposed to the Leonard theory, that an "uncivil" minority ruined it for everybody). So that our neighborhood will never get sandbagged again, as in March and April of this year, when the stadium was taken off the table and then put back on. So that we can finally put this behind us and move on as a neighborhood. The details of the meeting again: Lents Neighborhood Association General Meeting Tuesday, June 23, 2009 7:00 p.m. Lents Seventh-Day Adventist Church 8835 SE Woodstock Blvd. Bring picture ID to prove Lents neighborhood residency, and bring ALL adult members of your household. Boundaries of the Lents neighborhood are: Powell to the north, Clackamas County line to the south, 112th Ave. to the east, 82nd Ave. to the west. Then afterwards, let's celebrate with the Friends of Lents Park victory party/potluck, Saturday, June 27, noon - 3:00 p.m. at the gazebo in the park!

See you Tuesday night!
--The Friends of Lents Park Steering Committee

Here's URAC's letter:

Mayor Adams and Commissioners,
> > After conferring individually with members of the LTCURAC, I regret that the LTCURAC can not, in good faith, make a recommendation to allocate funding to the AAA Ballpark at the Walker Stadium site.
> > A key component to the success of any project is the presence of a willing and enthusiastic development partner, public or private. As of Friday, June 19, 2009 we were informed that key component is no longer a part of this proposal. This makes any further deliberation on the opportunities and challenges associated with the project difficult to conduct in a manner that addresses the project rather than the current circumstances. In addition, without additional input and details from the project proposer, we can not make an adequate and informed recommendation.
> > In order to allow our volunteer committee time to recoup and prepare to address other strategies for advancing the goals of the LTCURA plan, I am canceling the special meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 25. The next meeting of the LTCURAC will be on the regular meeting date of July 14, 2009.
> > Thank you, and City and PDC staff for your support during this process. The LTCURAC looks forward to exploring additional project opportunities in the future and to continuing to work with you on advancing the goals of the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Plan, and the East Portland Action Plan.
> > Sincerely,
> > Cora Lee Potter
> Chair, Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Advisory Committee

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lents Park: It's not quite over yet...

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 lentspark@gmail.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 letters@news.oregonian.com, 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.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Lents stadium plan off the table, says Beavers team owner Merritt Paulson
by Lisa Grace Lednicer, The Oregonian
Friday June 19, 2009, 2:05 PM

Photo Credit Doug Beghtel/The Oregonian

Portland Beavers owner Merritt Paulson today withdrew his attempt to build a minor league baseball stadium in Lents, saying it's clear that neighborhood residents strongly oppose the idea . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fish to join Friends of Lents Park at Thursday rally; projects decoupled?

Friends of Lents Park
Contact: Nick Christensen MojaveNC@comcast.net June 18, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. — City Commissioner Nick Fish will join opponents of a plan to build a professional baseball stadium in Lents Park at a rally Thursday night.

The rally will be at 5 p.m. June 18 at the MOUNT SCOTT COMMUNITY CENTER, 5530 SE 72nd Avenue.

"Commissioner Fish recognizes that this project is a bad deal for Lents residents and Portlanders who care about their parks," said Friends of Lents Park organizer Kathleen Juergens de Ponce. "We hope our testimony tonight will convince the rest of the city council that this is a bad idea."
Friends of Lents Park has been invited to give 10 minutes of testimony at the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Advisory Committee meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Mt. Scott Community Center. Several FLP members are planning on signing up to speak during the hearing's one hour public comment period.
FLP has heard through various sources that city officials have decided to "decouple" the MLS and Beavers stadium decisions, meaning the city can proceed with bringing MLS to the city while having a more comprehensive discussion about where to put the Beavers if they have to leave PGE Park. Once we have confirmed this to be the case, FLP will release a statement.
A transcript of FLP's testimony tonight will be available electronically. E-mail Nick Christensen at MojaveNC@comcast.net for information.

Friends of Lents Park
This grassroots group of Lents area residents seeks to preserve, maintain and enhance Lents Park as Open Space in its entirety, for the enjoyment of future generations. It supports the neighborhood and surrounding community in all uses of the park that are consistent with this mission.

Lents Park
The park is a 38-acre green space in the heart of Lents. It features walking paths, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts and a community garden — all of which are teeming with activity most days of the week. It also has hundreds of old trees, many of which would be cut down for construction of a stadium.

End the madness at Lents Park

Great Editorial in the Oregonian:

End the madness at Lents Park
by Steve Duin, The Oregonian
Wednesday June 17, 2009, 5:09 PM

In a city famous for its parks, Lents is one of the grander preserves, a sprawling, tree-lined sanctuary that serves as church, retreat and lemonade stand for a community that can't afford weekends at Black Butte.
That anyone would seriously consider tattooing this 38-acre wonderland with a minor league ballpark is as misguided as it is cruel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thursday update!

Hello to Friends of Lents Park members and supporters:
First, an update on tomorrow's activities. The Urban Renewal Advisory Committee has released meeting materials for tomorrow night's meeting, including at least some of the "funding scenarios" they will be considering. Check our website www.lentspark.blogspot.com for links to the materials; also attached is a summary (prepared by FLP Steering Committee member Paulette Filz) explaining the various scenarios in "real numbers."
Second, and most importantly: URAC HAS AGREED TO POSTPONE THEIR VOTE! Tomorrow's hearing will still be happening at 6:00 p.m., and our rally outside at 5:00 p.m. Nothing has changed, except that in the interests of a fuller public process, they will not hold the actual vote until a week later. Your e-mails have made a difference, and our demands are being listened to!
Just a reminder, the schedule tomorrow will be:
4:00 p.m. Open House
5:00 p.m. OUR RALLY (outside, during last hour of open house)
6:00 p.m. URAC meeting starts
This will all take place tomorrow, Thursday, June 18, at the Mt. Scott Community Center (SE 72nd and Harold).
We have received assurances from Chair Cora Potter that public testimony will be taken at tomorrow's hearing. YOUR PARTICIPATION IS VERY IMPORTANT. For those of you who have not given testimony at a public meeting before, the following tips may be helpful.
DO sign up to testify. There will likely be a sign-up sheet, available at the start of the meeting or before. As soon as you arrive, get inside the building and get your name on the sheet.
DO speak out as a resident of Lents. The URAC members are charged with representing us, and they can't do that unless they hear from us! Nobody is a bigger expert on your park, or your neighborhood, than YOU. People may attend this hearing who have PhD's in forestry or urban design, but if they do not live in Lents, their testimony will not count as much as yours.
DO tell your friends in surrounding neighborhoods to come and testify too! The Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area includes significant parts of five neighborhoods besides Lents: Powellhurst-Gilbert, Brentwood-Darlington, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Foster-Powell and Creston-Kenilworth. That means it's their money too! And their urban renewal programs that may get the axe! (And they don't even get a stadium out of it!)
DO limit your testimony to two minutes, which is likely all the time you'll have. A good guide, if you're preparing written remarks, is about a page and a half typed, double-spaced. Ideally you will get the chance to rehearse and time yourself.
DO get the facts about the stadium project and the urban renewal funding proposals. Besides the URAC meeting materials mentioned above and attached, you can go to our website and follow the link at "Friends of Lents Park Documents" for our stadium fact sheet and other important documents.
DON'T be intimidated by all the facts and figures. If you are not able to read and analyze everything quickly enough to prepare "technical" testimony, that doesn't mean what you have to say isn't important. The public simply has not been given enough time here, which is why we pushed so hard for a vote to be delayed. (Thank them for that, by the way.) Your feelings about the park, and the stadium proposal, are valid and deserve to be heard.
DON'T be profane or engage in personal attacks, as that will allow our message to be more easily dismissed. We can be outraged and passionate while still coming across as reasonable!
See you there tomorrow night! Together we are winning this!
Kathleen Juergens de Ponce
for the FLP Steering Committee

URAC vote postponed, Friends will still rally before Thursday hearing

PORTLAND, Ore. — Members of the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Advisory Committee have decided to postpone a vote on whether to fund construction of a professional baseball stadium in Lents Park.

The committee will still have a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18, which will follow an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Mount Scott Community Center, at the corner of Southeast 72nd Avenue and Southeast Harold Street.

According to an e-mail from staff at the Portland Development Commission, 13 members of the URAC were polled as to whether a vote should occur on Thursday. "The vast majority preferred to postpone the URAC vote," the e-mail said.

The vote is now scheduled for a 7 p.m. meeting on Thursday, June 25. A location has not been decided.

Opponents of a plan to spend $42 million in urban renewal money on a professional baseball stadium in Lents Park are planning a rally during the June 18 open house.

The rally is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at the Mount Scott Community Center.

More than 800 people have signed a petition expressing their opposition to the plan to build a stadium for the Portland Beavers in Lents Park. That petition will be submitted to the URAC at its June 18 meeting.

Several members of Friends of Lents Park are planning on testifying before the URAC.

Friends of Lents Park
This grassroots group of Lents area residents seeks to preserve, maintain and enhance Lents Park as Open Space in its entirety, for the enjoyment of future generations. It supports the neighborhood and surrounding community in all uses of the park that are consistent with this mission.

Lents Park
The park is a 38-acre green space in the heart of Lents. It features walking paths, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts and a community garden — all of which are teeming with activity most days of the week. It also has hundreds of old trees, many of which would be cut down for construction of a stadium.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Meeting Tuesday, rally Thursday, vote Wednesday?

Friends of Lents Park invites all interested parties to our general meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 16 at the Lents Park Gazebo. We'll be bringing everyone up to date on the latest proposals, and our plans for a rally at Thursday's meeting of the Lents Urban Renewal Advisory Committee.

The first details of the final proposal for the Beavers stadium inside Lents Park were released Monday on the URAC's Web site (under Meeting Agendas and Summaries.)

The URAC will have an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18 at the Mt. Scott Community Center, 5530 SE 72nd Avenue. That will be followed by a URAC meeting at 6 p.m.

At 5 p.m., join us in front of the community center as we protest the sparse public involvement process proposed thus far.

And be sure to contact URAC members and Portland city commissioners asking them to slow the process down, as we have demanded. Click here for contact information.

We're also asking the Lents Neighborhood Association have a ballot vote Wednesday to give its representatives to the URAC guidance on how to proceed.

Friends of Lents Park demands on public participation

As the elected representatives of the Friends of Lents Park, a citizen group with a mission to preserve, maintain and enhance Lents Park, we must protest the shockingly undemocratic processes proposed to be used in the Beavers baseball stadium siting and funding decisions.

Since the Lents Park stadium option was placed back on the table, Lents residents have been told – by our neighborhood association, our urban renewal advisory committee, and the city – that the public involvement process would begin once a “final deal” was reached between the city and Portland Beavers owner Merritt Paulson. A June 1, 2009 e-mail which our group received from Amy Ruiz of the mayor's office quotes Mayor Adams as saying “only if we can come to terms with Merritt on a stadium deal in Lents will we approach the issue with the Lents community.”

Frustrating as the lack of any officially-sanctioned public involvement process has been to date, Lents residents have looked forward to the point when the city/Beavers plan would be finalized, its details disclosed to us, and the public involvement process would begin.

That time is now. We understand that the city has concluded its negotiations with Peregrine LLC, Merritt Paulson's company, and as of last Friday have received a city/Peregrine “Term Sheet.” However, the public involvement process we were promised is nowhere to be found. Instead, both the city and our URAC seem determined to fast-track the stadium siting and funding decisions, by processes that appear designed to exclude public input.

On less than a week's notice, we have learned that our URAC intends to hold an “open house” at 4:00 p.m. Thursday, June 18 at the Mt. Scott Center, at which the final city/Beavers plan will be presented to the public, along with URAC's own “counteroffer” (which we understand may include scenarios for allocation of less than the full requested $42.3 million). At 6:00 p.m. that same evening, the URAC will then hold a hearing at which they discuss and vote on the funding scenarios.

This is an outrageously undemocratic process, which our members intend to protest with a 5:00 p.m. rally outside the meeting site. Lents is a working-class neighborhood, most of whose residents cannot reasonably make it to a 4:00 p.m. “open house.” Those few who can will then need to digest what they learn in time to prepare testimony for a hearing just two hours later – assuming that URAC Chairwoman Cora Potter allows public testimony. Those who cannot physically make it to this event on such short notice will have no opportunity to testify at all.

Even worse is the lack of notice to the entire Lents Town Center Urban Renewal area, which includes significant parts of several neighborhoods, including Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Brentwood-Darlington, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Foster-Powell and Creston-Kenilworth. The Friends of Lents Park will go “all out” to inform our own neighborhood of this meeting, but residents of the other five neighborhoods will likely not even know the meeting is happening – although virtually all urban renewal projects for this URA for the next five years are at stake.

Once the funding decision is railroaded through our URAC, the city council then proposes to “take direction from URAC.” An undemocratic URAC decision, reached without meaningful public involvement, cannot be the basis for the city's stadium siting decision. We urge all city commissioners to attend Thursday night's “open house” and URAC meeting, to see for themselves what kind of process they are proposing to rely on as representing the will of the citizens of Lents and the Lents Town Center URA.

We are also outraged by intimations that the city council intends to fast-track its own siting decision. The June 1 Amy Ruiz e-mail goes on to say that if URAC approves the money, “the council would also consider a plan for further public involvement and process on everything from the design of the stadium, to parking, replacement of park space, and a Good Neighbor Agreement.”

“Everything,” that is, except the critical question of whether or not to build a professional baseball stadium in our public park. The mayor apparently intends to allow the Lents community a voice in the “how” of stadium construction but not the “if.” This is completely unacceptable.


  1. That the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Advisory Committee postpone any vote on stadium construction funding until a full and fair public involvement process is conducted with all affected constituencies, including but not limited to the residents of the Lents neighborhood. We call upon any URAC members who disagree with the undemocratic process proposed by Chairwoman Cora Potter to make whatever motions are required to postpone this vote.

  2. That the Portland City Council postpone any vote on siting a Beavers baseball stadium in Lents Park, until a full and fair public involvement process can be conducted with the residents of the Lents neighborhood and other park users.

  3. That prior to any voting meeting of URAC or city council, the Lents Neighborhood Association conduct a special membership meeting, at which votes will be taken on stadium siting and the allocation of URA funds. If the leadership of URAC refuses to postpone the June 18 vote, we demand that LNA schedule an emergency membership meeting prior to that date.

  4. As regards the Lents neighborhood, our expectations for a full and fair public involvement process are as follows:
  • Multiple community open houses will be conducted, at which the details of the final city/Beavers plan will be disclosed and principal players will be available to answer questions. At least three open houses will be scheduled to accommodate neighborhood residents' differing work schedules: one on a weekday night, one on a weekday, and one on a weekend.
  • The open houses will be facilitated by a trained, neutral facilitator. “Pro” and “con” presenters (including the Friends of Lents Park) will be given equal time. Translation services will be provided in the principal languages spoken in our neighborhood, including Spanish, Vietnamese and Russian.
  • Besides question-and-answer sessions, the open houses will include time for attendees to voice comments/concerns about the stadium project. City commissioners will send staff members to each open house to hear these comments.
  • The full schedule of open houses will be adequately noticed to the neighborhood via a mailing to all households, in all principal languages spoken by the neighborhood. The mailed notice will include contact information by which more information can be obtained and by which testimony can be submitted by those unable to attend the open houses. The language of the mailed notice will be neutral as to the “pros” and “cons” of stadium construction.
  • All votes then scheduled by the URAC and by city council will be on adequate notice to the neighborhood and will include opportunity for public testimony, with translation services available in the principal language spoken by the neighborhood.
Yes, such a public involvement process will likely take months – this is the nature of public involvement. We are unimpressed by arguments that baseball stadium siting and funding decisions must be fast-tracked to facilitate the Major League Soccer deal. If MLS is so important to the city that it must stay on schedule at all costs, then it should be decoupled from baseball stadium siting. The city can find a temporary venue for the Beavers to play, or work out a temporary deal to share PGE Park, while additional stadium sites are considered and a proper public involvement process is conducted for each site. The Lents neighborhood should not be expected to sacrifice the livability of our community, and our right to a democratic process, for the sake of Merritt Paulson's soccer deal.

City officials should keep in mind that a fast-tracked decision to site the stadium in Lents is guaranteed to lead to legal appeals from neighborhood residents, which will likely tie up the MLS/baseball deal even longer than an extended public involvement process.

We are equally unimpressed by arguments that no funds are available for public involvement. In the midst of the worst recession of our lifetimes, our city council is considering spending $88 million in taxpayer money for the combined MLS/baseball deal. Are we really supposed to believe that a few thousand cannot be found for adequate public involvement? And given the generosity about to be shown to him from the public coffers, millionaire Beavers owner Paulson should be expected to pay his fair share of the public involvement costs.

We demand that all decision-makers in the stadium siting and funding processes keep their promises to Lents residents and fairly fulfill their duty to represent us in these decisions. Don't short-change public involvement for the sake of Merritt Paulson's profits. The Lents neighborhood, and the taxpayers of the entire city, deserve better.

- The Friends of Lents Park Steering Committee

Community demands thorough public involvement process in stadium decision

With a formal proposal to construct a professional baseball stadium in Lents Park expected any day, Lents community members from all over the spectrum are demanding the Urban Renewal Advisory Committee allow for adequate public participation.

The URAC has scheduled an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18 at the Mount Scott Community Center in the working-class southeast Portland neighborhood. After that, the URAC is scheduled to discuss the proposal and decide how much money to allot toward the project.

A rally of Lents residents upset with the lack of transparency and public involvement is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday outside the center.

“We welcome Thursday’s meeting as an opportunity to get a first look at the plans for our park,” said Friends of Lents Park spokesman Nick Christensen. “But we also acknowledge that many of our members work during the day, and may not get to the Mount Scott Community Center in time to comprehensively evaluate what’s being planned for their neighborhood.”

As of Monday, no second reading of the proposal was scheduled — whatever a majority of URAC members agree to will be forwarded to the city council without public comment on whatever proposal the URAC drafts.

Just as important, URAC members will not be able to go back to their respective constituencies to see if the proposal is acceptable to the neighborhoods and interests they represent. The Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area includes significant properties in five neighborhoods other than Lents, and portions of three more neighborhoods.

URAC leadership has refused to establish an adequate public participation process, saying a vote will only be delayed if a majority of board members ask for that.

They’re in lock-step with the city. In a June 1 e-mail, Amy Ruiz, an advisor to Mayor Sam Adams, wrote that if the URAC approves funding for the stadium, “the council will consider a plan for further public involvement” on the stadium’s aesthetics.

In other words, they’ll have public participation on how to build a professional stadium in a park used by thousands weekly — but not if a stadium should be built at all.

Friends of Lents Park is asking that the Lents Neighborhood Association hold an emergency meeting Wednesday, to allow Lents residents to vote and give guidance to its representatives to the URAC.

And the organization is calling on the city to use all of its resources to provide the Lents neighborhood with information about such a meeting.

“This is a city council that somehow, in this economy, thinks it can find $88 million to keep Merritt Paulson happy,” said Friends of Lents Park organizer Kathleen Juergens de Ponce. “We expect they can find a few measly thousand for adequate public involvement."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Facts Revealed by Commissioner

In a new position paper from Commissioner Amanda Fritz, some shocking new facts about the stadium deal are revealed, including (a) the REAL cost of $42.3 mil in TIF financing will be $85 million counting interest, and (b) the construction contract for the new stadium will be "no bid," with Paulson selecting the contractor with no input from the city. (She does, however, overlook livability issues, saying the stadium would be "a nice amenity for Lents.")


A very belated thank you

Without a low interest, payment deferred loan through the PDC to repair my falling down house, my life would not be so good right now.

I was a single mom and extremely poor, in 1998, and my 80+ year old home had a crumbling basement, faulty wiring, and the roof was caving in. The PDC helped me repair those problems which allowed me to keep my affordable home (my mortgage was much less than rent anywhere else), and because I could afford to be poor awhile longer, I was finally able to go to college. I earned my Masters this year, and I earn a heckuva lot more money, too, so I can finally start paying back that loan.

If I hadn't had stable, safe, affordable housing, I would still be working for minimum wage. A new stadium would not have helped me.

People who need help don't have the luxury to wait and see, or to take long term risks. That?s a rich people thing. I know urban renewal funds help much more when applied directly to the immediate problems and not indirectly through superfluous public attractions.

So thank you to those who are working to keep Lents Park free and open and to keep our Urban Renewal funds in our coffers where they can keep working for homeowners and small business owners. I promise, now that I've finally graduated, I will spend more time helping my neighbors and community.

For those who are opposed, I hope you consider how many people have benefited from low income loans for critical repairs. There are many others like me.

Thank you!
Twila Nesky

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chakwin: Allow time for review of proposal

Note: The Lents Neighborhood Association Urban Renewal Advisory Committee (sorry about the error on Friday night's post) is scheduled to vote on the ballpark proposal at its June 18 meeting (6 p.m., Mt. Scott Community Center). The proposal the URAC will be voting on -- or starting from as it discusses what proposal would be acceptable to it -- has not yet been distributed.

Below is a letter from Lents Neighborhood Association Chairman Damien Chakwin.

To whom it may concern,

As the Chair of the Lents Neighborhood Association I find it my responsibility to protest the amount of time that the neighborhood will have to view the proposal offered in conjunction with the Ball field.

We as a neighborhood are entitled to the due process of being able to know exactly what the offer ism considering the 20,000 people who live in Lents will have to adjust and adapt to what is the outcome of this vote.

I have spoken to many people who are in favor of the stadium and many people who are against the stadium both have good reasons for the way that they feel. One thing I know that both sides agree on as a neighborhood is that we are going to bear the brunt of the financial burden out of the URA, not to mention the changes in the neighborhood, both good and bad, and deserve to be a part of the process.

The URAC was explained to me as a representational board that covers not only Lents but other connected neighborhoods and businesses. So on top of the 20,000 residents of Lents we have these other neighborhoods that are supposedly affected but, are they to the same degree? That remains to be seen.

I am asking the City Council, the PDC, and the URAC respectively to allow the residents of Lents their due process, The ability to get the information and assess it and then tell all the parties involved that we either welcome the proposal, we do not welcome the proposal, or we need changes to make it work.

To all involved, those who know me will tell you that I am not a politician, I am a very plain speaker who generally speaks what is on my mind. I want to ask every single one of the people who are getting this E-mail, would any of you want to have this happen in your neighborhood with out having the ability to weigh in on the project. Granted this process has come late in the game but, it was off the table then back again, Lents was flexible when the ballpark came back to Lents, I am now asking all the people involved to give Lents the same flexibility.

When a proposal can be enacted and the people affected are not part of the decision then the proposal becomes an edict and not enforceable in a free democracy.

I as a resident of Lents and as the Chair of the Lents Neighborhood Association respectively ask that the members of the URAC postpone the vote until such time as the Lents neighborhood has time to review the proposal and respond through the neighborhood association. We will disseminate this information to the neighborhood with all the due diligence allowed considering our circumstances. We would welcome suggestions from the city council as to ways to speedup the distribution of the material or support in our efforts or get the material out to the neighborhood.

Respectively Yours
Damien A. Chakwin

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Study: Beavers in Lents will have lowest attendance in Triple-A

PORTLAND, Ore. — An independent study by consultant HVS, Review of Lents Park Site and Proforma, has concluded that an average of 3,222 fans are likely to attend the average Beavers game in Lents Park. In 2008, the Beavers reported selling an average of 5,607 tickets nightly.

The study was requested by the office of Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Attendance that low would drop the Beavers to the lowest draw at the Triple-A level, and on par with teams like the Single-A Salem (Va.) Red Sox and Double-A Binghamton (N.Y.) Mets.

The study also found that "the surrounding residential housing will also limit the timing of concerts, the park's ability to book larger exhibition games, and the types of promotions permitted at the ballparks such as fireworks."

Only four of 30 Double-A teams averaged less than 3,000 fans a game in 2008. Of the 60 Single-A teams, 24 are drawing more than 3,000 fans a game in 2009. (See list below.)

The report further puts in doubt claims that a Beavers Stadium in Lents Park will do anything for the neighborhood other than create quality of life issues for neighbors.

"If the Beavers draw small crowds and aren't profitable, why would they stay in Lents?" said Nick Christensen, spokesman for Friends of Lents Park. "Then we're stuck with a stadium in our park and a $42 million bill."

Members are planning to attend Thursday's Lents Neighborhood Association meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday night at the New Copper Penny, 5932 SE 92nd Avenue at Foster Road. The ilovelents.com Web site says the meeting will start at 6 p.m.; however, the most recent Thursday meeting at the New Copper Penny was also listed as a 6 p.m. start but didn't start until 6:30 p.m.

This grassroots group of Lents area residents seeks to preserve, maintain and enhance Lents Park as Open Space in its entirety, for the enjoyment of future generations. It supports the neighborhood and surrounding community in all uses of the park that are consistent with this mission.

Lents Park
The park is a 38-acre green space in the heart of Lents. It features walking paths, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts and a community garden — all of which are teeming with activity most days of the week. It also has hundreds of old trees, many of which would be cut down for construction of a stadium.

2009 Minor League Baseball Attendance
Teams averaging between 2,750 and 3,250 fans per game as of June 9.

Team City Class Attendance
Harrisburg Senators Harrisburg, Pa. AA 3,228
Charlotte Stone Crabs Port Charlotte, Fla. A 3,143
Lake County Captains Eastlake, Ohio A 3,117
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Myrtle Beach, S.C. A 3,101
Quad Cities River Bandits Davenport, Iowa A 3,080
Peoria Chiefs Peoria, Ill. A 3,065
Potomac Nationals Woodbridge, Va. A 3,049
Salem Red Sox Salem, Va. A 3,016
Binghamton Mets Binghamton, N.Y. AA 3,008
Daytona Cubs Daytona, Fla. A 2,998
Stockton Ports Stockton, Calif. A 2,965
Great Lakes Loons Mildand, Mich. A 2,960
Rome Braves Rome, Ga. A 2,955
Mobile BayBears Mobile, Ala. AA 2,933
Carolina Mudcats Zebulon, N.C. AA 2,927
West Virginia Power Charleston, W.V. A 2,908
Clearwater Threshers Clearwater, Fla. A 2,873
Augusta GreenJackets Augusta, Ga. A 2,868

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Friends of Lents Park documents

- List of members of the city council, Lents URAC, Lents Neighborhood Association, click here

- Facts about the Lents Park stadium proposal, click here

- Report on impact of Triple-A stadiums on other cities, click here

- Portland's Comprehensive Plan, including details on goals that a pro stadium in Lents Park would hinder, not help, click here and here

- Friends of Lents Park Mission Statement and Points of Unity, click here

- Our petition, click here

- PDC budget scenarios for for the Lents Urban Renewal Area if the stadium is built, click here

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two important radio shows on KBOO

Coming the next couple days on KBOO are two great chances for Lents residents to speak out on the proposed professional baseball stadium in Lents Park.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 10, Mayor Sam Adams will be on the "Locus Focus" show discussing Portland's commitment to sustainability. What's sustainable about building a professional baseball stadium in a park? Call in and ask the mayor how this fits into a green Portland.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, Voices from the Edge features Friends of Lents Park organizer Kathleen Juergens de Ponce. Commissioner Randy Leonard has also been invited. They welcome callers at 503-231-8187 to share their perspectives on the stadium plan.

That's on KBOO 90.7-FM.


Thanks to the 50 or so of you who came out to the gazebo tonight to help! Tonight we set up a great game plan to fight this terrible idea.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Friends of Lents Park meeting, 6 p.m. June 9

The Friends of Lents Park will have its next meeting at the Lents Park Gazebo at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 9.

Please bring something to sit on, and feel free to bring your dinner along, if this is the time you would normally be eating.

Although we are still trying to get to know our neighbors and hear people's concerns, this meeting will not be primarily a "speak-out" like last time, but will be focused on organizing people to get our message out to decision-makers and the public. Come prepared with ideas for things you would like to see this group DO to save our park!

A number of you last Wednesday indicated a willingness to be contacted to help. WE NEED HELP in many areas. If you think you can help in any of the myriad ways we need help, please come to Tuesday's meeting prepared to identify yourself, or e-mail lentspark@gmail.com.

Thanks so much for your interest, and keep on speaking out to save our park!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A response to Commissioner Leonard

On his blog this evening, Commissioner Randy Leonard posted an update on the plan to build a professional baseball stadium in beautiful Lents Park. He also took a swipe at opponents of the plan, saying his information was "contrary to speculation and misinformation."

He certainly couldn't be referring to Friends of Lents Park, because the plan on his Web site looks pretty much like every plan we've seen so far.

While we appreciate Commissioner Leonard working on the weekend to reach out to constituents, there are many concerns that weren't addressed in his posting today:
  • Mitigation for neighbors of the new stadium, whose houses will be, in some cases, less than 150 feet away from the stadium. Baseball stadiums have floodlights, public address systems, fans and sometimes fireworks, and games regularly last past 10 p.m.
  • A plan to compensate for the dramatic loss of funds from the Lents Urban Renewal District, as outlined by a budget proposal from the Portland Development Commission.
  • Details on what other events are planned for the stadium besides Triple-A baseball. Will it host concerts, college baseball games, Major League exhibition games, games from other sports, etc.?
  • An explanation as to why a baseball stadium in Lents Park will foster new urban development when no Triple-A stadium built outside a city's downtown core has brought development to the neighborhood around it?
  • Information on parking. Trips on MAX to other areas in Portland will be very, very long (26 minutes to Gresham, 30 minutes to Pioneer Square, 53 minutes to Beaverton, 63 minutes to Kenton, 79 minutes to Hillsboro), and many fans will drive to a stadium with 200 parking spaces. Where will their cars go and how will that impact stadium neighbors used to seeing a lush, family-oriented park outside their doors, not streets jammed with parallel parkers?
  • Real details on access for the community to the new stadium. Will the gates be open to all comers the rest of the year? How much will users be charged to use the stadium? What insurance requirements will the city and Beavers have for teams wishing to play at the field? Will local leagues be able to use the stadium on game days?
  • Real details on mentoring and community involvement plans from the Beavers. Considering Triple-A players start batting practice at about 4:30 p.m., that doesn't leave a lot of time for mentoring during the school year (Marshall High School gets out at 3:15 p.m.)
Our questions aren't about tweaks in the plans. Our questions are about how we are supposed to live with a stadium in our park, as it is planned right now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

PDC report: Urban renewal funding would be decimated by stadium construction

Meeting materials are available for the upcoming meeting of the Lents URAC (a date has not been set), and the news is not good for redevelopment funding for Lents.

The PDC came up with four budget scenarios for the URAC:

• No stadium
• A $42 million stadium with a 30% set-aside for affordable housing
• A $42 million stadium with a 15% set-aside
• A $42 million stadium with a 15% set-aside and a $15 million loan to the Lents URA

Some lowlights:

"In the first five years, all programs would be eliminated. PDC would likely have no tools available in Lents to assist small businesses or do business recruitment or retention." After that, programs would be reinstated but not to their full level.

"In the first five years, the only project likely to be funded would be the Foster/Woodstock Streetscape. All parks and street paving projects would be cut." A reduced Johnson Creek project might happen in the final six years.

"In the first five year period, all programs would be cut and all redevelopment, acquisition/land assembly and revitalization projects and programs would be suspended. There may be no funding for the Johnson Creek Industrial Area project in early years, and only about $5 million in later years."

"In the first five year period some programs and projects would be minimally funded."

"There may be no funding for the Johnson Creek Industrial Area project in early years."

"In the final six years of the URA, all planned infrastructure projects would be eliminated, including facilities, Johnson Creek Flood Mitigation, parks and transportation improvement investments."

"The impact would likely be discontinuation of all housing programs and projects, other than limited home repairs or homebuyer assistance."

"In the final six year period, programs would be reinstated, but at significantly lower levels than originally planned."

A thank you, a reminder, and an invitation


This week, more than 150 Lents residents gathered in our park to show that this neighborhood does not want pro baseball just feet away from homes. Your presence helped set the stage for a real conversation, not just a procedural approval.

There's much left to be done. City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has written a letter outlining the terms he needs to see met before he will vote to approve the stadium. Conspicuously absent from that list is livability for neighbors. Write to Commissioner Saltzman at dan@ci.portland.or.us and tell him why you're concerned about plans to build a stadium in your neighborhood park.

Friday nights at the Lents Town Center are a special time, where the community gathers, neighbors chat, and, yes, foes on this ballpark deal converse about other things. It was wonderful to see 150 of you out at Lents Park on Wednesday evening. Come on down to the Lents Town Center for QT on the LTC and have a burrito at El Pato, a sandwich from Ararat or a hearty dinner at the New Copper Penny, then join the neighborhood at the plaza on the northwest corner of 92nd and Foster.

And if you have time Sunday, we encourage you to head on out to the United for Oregon March, where many members of Friends of Lents Park will gather to protest this proposed grab of our parkland. For more information, e-mail us at lentspark@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Friends of Lents Park meeting tonight!

The Friends of Lents Park will be meeting in the Lents Park Gazebo at 6 p.m. tonight, June 3. Come join us and bring your concerns about the proposal to build a pro baseball stadium in Lents Park.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Press release: Stadium neighbor's life would be turned upside down by Beavers Ballpark

Contact: lentspark@gmail.com
lentspark.blogspot.com June 2, 2009

With pictures of Victor Ponce Jr. in his Little League uniform on the mantle, the last thing you'd expect to find in the Juergens-Ponce home on Southeast 92nd Avenue are opponents of bringing pro baseball to Lents.

But turn around from the photographs in their living room, and look out the huge window facing west, and you'll see why Beavers owner Merritt Paulson's dream is the Ponce family's nightmare.

"I can't imagine how our house can remain at all livable, or sellable on the residential market, with a professional baseball stadium just a few feet away," said Kathleen Juergens de Ponce. "With homes this close, there is just no mitigation of the livability impacts."

The Ponces moved to Lents in 2005, shortly after getting married, with plans on raising a family in the southeast Portland neighborhood. Moving from a small apartment in Northeast Portland, the family was particularly enamored by the view of the park across the street.

Their first child together, Tenoch, was born in early 2008. Juergens de Ponce is eight months pregnant.

Sitting in her living room, Juergens de Ponce can read the numbers of players playing at Walker Stadium. Her husband found a stray baseball in their yard while mowing the lawn over the Memorial Day weekend.

But that park could become a baseball stadium under a proposal being pushed by the Beavers and City Commissioner Randy Leonard. That means 72 nights a year of stadium floodlights filling their living room, 72 nights of public address announcements and walk-up music for each batter, and who knows how many fireworks nights and other specials that draw large crowds into a residential area.

That's particularly bad for 48-year-old Victor Ponce-Juarez, Kathleen's husband and a welder with an irregular schedule — some shifts start at 4 a.m.

"I work with heavy equipment under hazardous conditions," Ponce-Juarez said. "Somebody could get killed on my job if I don't get enough sleep to function safely."

For 12-year-old Victor Ponce Jr., the proposed Triple-A park would detract from his little league experience.

"When I'm playing baseball in the park, I want to hear the cheers of my friends and family, not the roar of the loudspeakers from a big-league stadium," he said. "Kids use the park for soccer games, birthday parties, and just hanging out. A professional stadium will interfere with that."

The Ponces are available for interviews prior to Wednesday's 6 p.m. meeting of Friends of Lents Park. Contact lentspark@gmail.com for information on interviewing the Ponces.

Friends of Lents Park
This grassroots group of Lents area residents seeks to sustainably and collaboratively preserve and improve Lents Park and the Lents neighborhood for the enjoyment of future generations of Lents residents.

Lents Park
The park is a 38-acre green space in the heart of Lents. It features walking paths, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts and a community garden — all of which are teeming with activity most days of the week. It also has hundreds of old trees, many of which would be cut down for construction of a stadium.


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

Monday, June 1, 2009

Scenes from Lents Park 6.1.09

Children enjoy a warm summer afternoon on one of Lents Park's softball fields.

Photo by Paulette Filz.

Friends of Lents Park to hold meeting Wednesday

Friends of Lents Park, a grassroots organization of Lents area residents seeking to save Lents Park as an open, accessible neighborhood asset 365 nights a year, will meet Wednesday, June 3, to discuss its opposition to a plan to close parts of the park.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the gazebo at Lents Park, which would have to be moved to make way for the risky 9,000-seat stadium planned for the Portland Beavers.

Construction of a stadium could cost the Lents Urban Renewal Area about $42 million, money which would otherwise be spent on developing new businesses in the neighborhood, and making home ownership more affordable for prospective Lents residents.

At the same time, a stadium would make parts of Lents Park inaccessible on 72 game nights a year. Neighbors of the park would no longer see children playing baseball outside their windows, instead being forced to look at stadium spotlights and listen to public address announcements lasting well past 10 p.m.

"While a stadium is being pitched as a panacea for development in Lents, history has shown that minor league stadiums outside of downtown areas do not spur development," said Nick Christensen, a Lents resident and group member. "The stadium plan is based on too many suppositions and too much risk to Lents residents, while Merritt Paulson has little-to-nothing invested in the economic growth of the neighborhood around Lents Park."

Lents Park is a 38-acre green gem in the heart of Lents. It features walking paths, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts and a community garden — all of which are teeming with activity most days of the week. It also has hundreds of old trees, many of which would be cut down for construction of a stadium.

LTE: Neighborhood would be difficult to convert to businesses

The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Friends of Lents Park's Kathleen Juergens de Ponce.

Visit the proposed Lents Park stadium site and two things will immediately strike you. First, the park is residential on all four sides. The houses on SE 92nd, including mine, are literally just across the street. How can these residences possibly remain liveable, when faced with the loudspeakers, floodlights, amplified music, etc. of 72 Beavers home games per year?


The second thing you will notice: there is no "stadium friendly" commercial development anywhere nearby, nor suitable vacant sites for such development. The new restaurants and coffeehouses of the Lents Town Center are a half mile downhill. Commissioner Leonard would have us believe that stadium-goers will ride down one more MAX stop to eat, drink and shop. Does any sane person find this plausible?


Leonard says the corner of SE 92nd and Holgate would be "the perfect spot" for restaurants. Unfortunately for him, the three commercial sites at this intersection are already occupied, one by a gas station (highly problematic to convert to a restaurant) and one by an auto shop which owns its land.


The only way the Lents stadium plan will work, either for liveability or for economic development, is if the City of Portland is prepared to condemn or otherwise displace existing owner-occupied homes and locally-owned businesses. What’s Leonard’s plan for getting rid of us? And are the City and the public prepared to stomach the costs and implications of such a plan? My neighbors and I sure as hell are not! Join us in fighting this whoppingly ill-conceived stadium scheme.