Our new owner, Merritt Paulson, has plans to renovate PGE Park and move the Timbers to MLS. This will take ~$20M of City/State funds to renovate PGE Park. Paulson pledges to pay (gotta love alliteration) the ~$30M expansion fee out of his own funds. The Beavers would eventually move to their own stadium at an alternative location.
I like that Paulson answers the question, "Why do we need an MLS team when it's already a professional team?" by mentioning the economic and cultural benefits to the City and region. Not enough people think about what a Club can mean to a city when it becomes part of the community.
A good example of this is the Green Bay Packers. I believe part of that team is owned by the community. And I do believe that there could be more support for the Timbers in the community if a Supporters Trust was part of the investment/ownership, including a place on the Board- but I digress, that's for another post.
Anyway, here's a link to an article by Ian Plenderleith about the cultural benefits that a major league sports team can have in a city. This article appeared in response to a couple of talk radio guys in Portland, who had a less-than impressive interview with MLS Commissioner Don Garber.