June 17th, 2009 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Sports, City Hall, Multnomah County

Oliver P. Lent Speaks, Calls Baseball Proposal "Helluva Bad Idea"

Dad & Grandpa

The great-grandson of Oliver P. Lent, the founding father of the Lents neighborhood in Southeast Portland, is -- wait for it -- 85-year-old Oliver P. Lent, a lifelong Portlander who was raised in Lents but now lives in Northeast Portland.

This morning, the day before the Lents urban renewal advisory group is to vote on the proposal to build a new minor-league baseball stadium in Lents with $42.3 million in neighborhood funding, I talked with Lent (picture above, on the right.)

He was unequivocal in his opposition to the stadium project, which would consume some portion of Lents Park. "I think it's the stupidest thing they [Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard] ever thought of," Lent said. "My grandmother started that park, and it was for the kids."

A retired shift-supervisor for a local oil refinery, Lent shared other opinions on the project:

WW: As a descendant of the neighborhood's founder who opposes the public-private project, why haven't you spoken out sooner?

Lent: I think they've got enough people telling them. They just don't seem to be listening.

WW: Won't a baseball stadium give Lents a psychological boost, like Commissioner Randy Leonard says?

Lent: [Laughter] I'll tell you what it will give them: a screwed-up park. Because the next thing they'll need is more parking.

WW: So how would you sum up the proposal?

Lent: All in all, a helluva bad idea.

Photo of Oliver P. Lent, courtesy his granddaughter, Rachel Lent Cunningham.
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