Portland City Council supports Timbers' planned Providence Park expansion

Proposed Providence Park renovation - field level

The Portland City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve supporting the Timbers’ proposed $50 million expansion that would add 4,000 seats to Providence Park.

The City Council will vote later this month on whether to hire architects and planners to represent the city during design of the Providence Park renovation, which calls for four new levels to be built on the east side of the downtown stadium. According to The Oregonian, the council will vote in June on specific terms of the expansion and the associated tax break.

The Timbers will privately finance construction of the expansion project, but have asked the city to waive all ticket taxes on the 4,000 new seats for 10 years. After that period ends, the Timbers will pay the city a ticket tax on seats in the new sections, club president Mike Golub told The Oregonian.

Golub, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland Commissioner Ted Fish all noted Wednesday that the tax-free tickets would not exist if the Timbers weren’t spending $50 million on stadium expansion.

The home of the Timbers and the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, Providence Park has a capacity of 21,144 for soccer, putting the venue in the bottom half of MLS in terms of size. The Timbers have sold out every single MLS regular season and playoff match at the venue since they joined the league in 2011, and currently have a season ticket waiting list of more than 13,000.

The club said when they announced the plan last month that they’ll continue to work with the city and neighborhood association on the specifics of the proposal and in the design-review process. The timeline for construction will depend on when final approval is received and will include a two-offseason process, beginning either at the conclusion of the 2017 or 2018 season and ending in time for either the beginning of the 2019 or 2020 MLS campaign.