I wish we would the same sort of public support go towards the arts, schools and libraries as we see towards crafting deals to bring major league sports franchises to big cities. This nation would be a much greater country were culture given the same attention that sports enjoy.
In the end I consider sports as much a part of our lives as literature, art or the symphony. They're a part of our identity. They provide a needed diversion, especially during difficult times. They provide value to the community at large.
That's why if these were normal economic times I would probably support a deal to bring major league soccer to Oregon.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The City Council has approved financing $60 million to lure a Major League Soccer franchise to Portland, but hasn't resolved how to raise a quarter of the money.
The $60 million would go to renovating PGE Park to meet MLS specifications, and building a new ballpark for the Portland Beavers, the city's Triple-A baseball team.
Major League Soccer is expected to choose two expansion teams by March 19. Four cities are in the running: Portland, Vancouver, Ottawa and St. Louis.
But the times aren't normal.
The state of Oregon is proposing 24 day unpaid furloughs for state workers and wage freezes. The Ways and Means Committee is proposing cutting public safety by $58 million, human services by 19 million and economic development projects by $5 million dollars. We are looking at shortening the school year and laying off teachers. Our unemployment rate jumped to 9.9% in January making it the fifth-highest in the nation.
Spending public funds for a major league soccer team in this economic climate is unconscionable. If the city of Portland has surplus cash it should throw it into the state kitty.