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PGE debt, rent back on track

Several years after former owners of the Portland Beavers and Timbers stopped paying their rent to the city of Portland for PGE Park — after getting $2 million behind in rent payments — the city doesn’t appear to be losing money on the stadium anymore. With quite a bit of help from a special hotel and rental car tax. Currently, the city needs a bit more than $3 million a year to make its debt payments on bonds it issued to renovate PGE Park in 2000. The city paid about $33 million of the $38.5 million in renovation costs. Part of the money generated from a local hotel and rental car tax generates about $2 million a year for the debt payments. And the current owner of the Beavers and Timbers now is paying about $1.1 million a year to provide the rest of the money needed for debt payments, said David Logsdon, spectator facilities manager for the city of Portland. “We’re kind of at a break-even point at PGE Park, except for the capital improvements,” Logsdon said. The city, which owns PGE Park, is responsible for all capital improvements — including, for instance, the recent $1 million it cost to replace the artificial turf at the stadium. The current owner of the Beavers and Timbers, a group led by Merritt Paulson, pays an $800,000 “license fee” to use the stadium this year. The city gets another $200,000 to $300,000 per year from ticket sales at PGE Park — a fixed amount for most Beavers and Timbers games and a percentage of sales for other events. The city still is in the red on stadium rent — because of the financial problems of the first post-renovation owners of the Beavers and Timbers, a now-defunct group called Portland Family Entertainment. The city set a goal of recovering $800,000 of its $2 million loss from PFE in subsequent contracts with Beavers and Timbers owners. So far, the city has recovered $383,000 of that. — Todd Murphy