March 18th, 2009 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Sports

Paulson, MLS Seeking National Ink With Friday Announcement

Merritt Paulson

As reported elsewhere earlier, Major League Soccer will announce on Friday at a 10:00 am press conference at the Hilton Hotel that it has awarded Portland Beavers and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson an MLS expansion franchise.

Paulson has been calling friends and associates today to tell them the news. The timing and location of the announcement are strategic: MLS and Paulson hope to piggyback on the scrum of national sports reporters who will be here to cover first round mens' NCAA basketball tournament action.

The announcement will mark a triumph for Paulson and the unsung hero of his crusade for the $88.5 million deal, the Gallatin Group's Greg Peden, whose City Hall contacts catapulted Paulson past the Portland Trail Blazers in the race to capture city council's backing—and scarce public dollars—to expand entertainment offerings.

In a belated attempt to counter the advantage Peden gave Paulson, the Blazers have reportedly hired Karen Whitman, a longtime political insider who formerly ran Pioneer Square.
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