Portland Soccer Baron Merritt Paulson Got Sideways With His Neighbors—Over Some Rocks

The government got involved.

Portland Thorns and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson is getting off to a rocky start with his new neighbors. And his landscaping choices made them so mad, they called in government regulators.

In February, Paulson bought a new $3.4 million home in the Dunthorpe neighborhood in unincorporated Multnomah County. In September, the county received two complaints—one anonymous and one from a lawyer named Michael Gottlieb—about Paulson placing "rocks and boulders" in the public right of way adjacent to his new home.

That makes it the county's business, because the stones are in the right of way. A county inspector documented code violations and sent Paulson an Oct. 17 letter demanding he remove the rocks and boulders by Nov. 10 or face fines of up to $3,500 a day.

At press time, some of the rocks remained, but Paulson and county officials say he's complying and received an extension.

"I am working with the county," Paulson writes in an email. "I may have to get a permit. Simple case of damage to my property by parked cars—and the decorative rocks are small."

Paulson is doing a better job making friends at City Hall—where approval of a $55 million Providence Park stadium expansion sailed through this summer—and with Portland Thorns fans: He picked up the bar tab of Thorns die-hards who traveled to Orlando, Fla., last month to watch their team win its second National Women's Soccer League Championship.

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