Major League Soccer Coming to Portland

Today at a press conference held at the Hilton in downtown Portland, Major League Soccer officials announced they were awarding Portland a MLS team. This announcement came a little over a week after city council voted 3 – 2 to approve soccer.

Artist rendition of the Rose Quarter with a baseball stadium.
Artist's rendition of the Rose Quarter with a baseball stadium.

How does this affect Eliot Neighborhood? To host the new team, PGE Park will be renovated into a Major League Soccer stadium. Located just off of W Burnside at SW 18th PGE Park is currently the home to the Beavers Triple-A baseball team and the lower league Portland Timbers soccer team. According to MLS rules the stadium cannot be used for baseball as well as soccer. The new home for the Beavers will be in new baseball stadium seating around 9000 at the Rose Quarter. Though the Rose Quarter is outside of Eliot it is near the southern edge of the neighborhood.

The projects will be funded through a combination of private money from Merritt Paulson, tax districts and city issued bonds. Paulson, the current owner of the Beavers and United Soccer League Timbers, will pay the MLS franchise fee and be the owner of the new MLS Portland Timbers team. The MLS Timbers are expected to start playing in Portland in 2011 so presumably the Beavers will be playing at the Rose Quarter the same year.

You can follow the latest developments on the MLS page.