Friday, June 01, 2007

Portland MLS stadium search goes to the suburbs

Yesterday the Keston family was talking about sites in Seattle for a MLS side, now they are talking about Portland.

When the idea of a MLS team in the northwest owned by the Kestons first surfaced, it seemed like Portland had a bit of an edge due to PGE Park. PGE holds just about 20,000, is located in the city and only needs a few renovations to make it MLS ready. However, it is owned by the city, which would limit the amount of profit a team could see from it.

With that in mind, James Keston has pointed to the suburb of Hillsboro as a site that could host a "first-class soccer-specific" stadium. This stadium would be similar to FC Dallas's and Colorado's in that it would have a 17-24,000 seat stadium surrounded by soccer fields. Hillsboro is about 20-miles West of Portland.

So why Hillsboro, well it is easy to build a big site in a suburb, but there is also a stadium currently there, thus they would not be starting from nothing. Also, with a new owner of the soccer and baseball teams currently in PGE Park, which have temporarily stalled discussions.

The current stadium in Hillsboro seats 4,000, so a major upgrade would be needed. However, James Keston believes this upgrade would be less then the $120 million to start from scratch.

The Keston family is suppose to decide on a city for their club soon. However, it looks very likely that no matter if they go with Seattle or Portland, they will not actually be playing in that city.

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Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

Hey Mike. Thought I'd send a couple near-hand observations on this subject your way. One, from my site, paints a fairly rosy picture of the Hillsboro location (not least 'cause I live there); a second, from the Timbers' Blog, wonders about how existing fans will react to a suburban location.

Can't say who's more correct; it's possible we'll never know.

5:12 PM  

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