Soccer fields vs. social services: The real cost of urban renewal districts.

program date: 
Wed, 03/04/2009

Next week the Portland City Council starts to consider an $85 million proposal by Merritt Paulson to bring major league soccer to Portland. Paulson wants the city to contribute $20-$40 million of urban renewal money - funds intended to combat "urban blight" - to close the deal. The Portland Development Commission's advisory task force has just completed a review that recommends conditional approval. Paulson and his supporters say those dollars will create jobs and enhance the community. Critics not only say that soccer doesn't qualify but that its diverting funds from essential county services.

Dave talks with Marissa Madrigal, chief of staff to Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen, about how the city's expanding use of urban renewal districts is affecting the county's ability to meet the needs of county residents. Also joining the conversation is State Rep. Nick Kahl (D-Portland) who recently introduced legislation that would require county approval for the creation or amendment of urban renewal districts as well as permit urban renewal funds to be spent on social services. To find our more or make your voice heard on this important question, contact Commissioner Cogen and Rep. Kahl.

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