Mayor Hales Urged to Reveal Cost of Providence Park
Lisa Stiller would prefer that every dollar paid for health insurance premiums go to provide health care, not advertising.
Her nonprofit, Health Care for all Oregon, wants to know how much money Providence Health & Services paid the Portland Timbers' for naming rights to the Major League Soccer team’s home stadium now called Providence Park.
About a half dozen pickets and a slightly larger number of media covering them gathered outside City Hall on May 7 where Stiller’s group sought a meeting with Mayor Charlie Hales. The city owns the stadium but the redacted contract Peregrine Sports LLC, the owners of the Timbers, gave the city does not include the amount Providence paid in the 15-year, 40-page naming rights and sponsorship agreement.
“We believe that the public has a right to know,” Stiller said. “We’re hoping we can get it in a reasonable, friendly fashion.”
The mayor did not meet with the group. Dana Haynes, his communications director, said the mayor “does triage every week” to manage requests for his time and his attention that day was focused on the budget, urban renewal and Google.
Stiller said the Timbers stadium naming announcement in February came only months after Moda Health purchased naming rights to the former Rose Garden where the Portland Trailblazers play for $40 million, a sum she called “outrageous.”
At the rally, Peter Apanel distributed a letter describing a criminal complaint on the matter that he filed with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.
“Both the Portland Timbers and the city of Portland are in violation of Portland City Ordinance No. 183516 because they have failed to disclose to the public the price being paid by Providence Health Services for stadium naming rights. And it falls within the jurisdiction of the Multnomah County District Attorney to prosecute any violations of city ordinances,” the letter states.
“Since 2011, the Timbers have failed to submit to the city the price information for any stadium-related naming rights agreement, and the city has failed to enforce the disclosure requirements in the lease,” the letter goes on to say.
In response, Travis Sewell, Multnomah County senior deputy district attorney, told The Lund Report in an email, “We are looking into this matter and will let you, and Mr. Apanel, know what our decision is regarding his complaint.”
Providence did not mention the new stadium name in its description of a long list of soccer-related and other community enterprises. “Providence Health & Services is honored to expand its community partnership with the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC, as we work together to foster community, health and wellness across the region,” according to a statement sent to The Lund Report.
The Timbers did not respond to a request for comment.
Jan can be reached at [email protected].