Portland to Consider New Terms for Providence Park Tax Breaks

On Wednesday, the City of Portland will consider new terms for a tax break that will help cover an expansion of Providence Park

First announced by the Portland Timbers in April, the proposed Providence Park expansion calls for the addition of about 4,000 seats along the stadium’s east side. The project has been estimated to cost $50 million, and will be covered by the Timbers.

That plan took a step forward in May, when the Portland City Council granted approval to a request that would exempt the Timbers from paying an admission tax on seats added through the expansion for the first 10 years after the project is completed.

Now, however, the two sides are discussing a different agreement. In the new terms, the Timbers will be exempted from paying an admissions tax on sales generated from existing seats for a select time period. That would begin in 2018 and run until the expansion is completed in either 2021 or 2022. After that, the Timbers would be exempt from paying a tax on the seats added via expansion until 2025.

City finance officials are recommending that the council approve the plan. More from The Oregonian:

“As the final debt payments on the 2010 stadium renovations are due in 2026 and 2027, having additional income to the fund in those years will help protect the city’s general fund from exposure to debt obligations in excess of the Spectator Venues and Visitor Activities Fund’s resources,” their analysis said.

By foregoing the 7 percent tax on Timbers and Thorns ticket sales, “conservative estimates” show the city could lose out on $3.7 million to $5.1 million in the next seven years. But the “actual value of foregone revenue is likely to be higher, especially if local teams perform well,” a city budget report said.

“The city asked us to give them certainty in (2026 and 2027) so it was, we thought, a reasonable trade-off,” Timbers President of Business Mike Golub said. “We’re doubling down on our commitment to be in this city long-term, which is obviously a good thing for the city long-term.”

The Oregonian reported that the Portland City Council is likely to approve the new terms.

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