Hi Folks, it's me, your trusty PTFC blogger here on Blogtown. You haven't heard much from me since the last home game, because, well, the Timbers finished the season at the bottom of the table and missed the playoffs for the second time in three years.

It was a season many of us would prefer to forget, but until the Boys in Green take the field next season, we can lick our wounds, kibbutz about how Coach/GM Gavin Wilkinson will be returning (despite royally sucking), and keep our ears to the ground about Timbers and Beavers owner Merritt Paulson's plans to bring Major League Soccer to Portland.

Children, I am the bringer repeater of good news.

Before yesterday, we knew a few things:

Yesterday, a short press release flashed around the internet.

"Today, on behalf of the greatest soccer fans in America, we submitted our formal application to bring Major League Soccer to Portland. We expect to get a response to our application no later than March of next year. In the meantime, we will continue to work with MLS, city officials and the community to turn this exciting idea into reality for Portland and Oregon." --Merritt Paulson

Yippee! said the Timbers faithful. I wanted more. I'm not naive enough to think that the public would get a look at the official MLS franchise expansion application, but I thought that maybe we'd see what Paulson's company, Shortstop LLC, submitted to the city, or perhaps some sense of what the city thinks of the MLS plans.

Well then, lucky for us--and thanks to some crack reporting from Ryan Frank and Mark Larrabee at the Oregonian--we have a rundown. The article covers a bunch of stuff, including bits about the $700 billion bailout, which is annoying and largely irrelevant.

I thought I might summarize all of this stuff, but I'm no city politics expert. Instead, here are links to three documents that accompanied the article:

In those, I point your attention to these facts

  • --"MLS Commissioner told Merritt that if Portland solves the venue issue, we will get the next expansion franchise (team #17) and would start in 2011," Logsdon wrote in his email.

  • --The PFM Group notes that the financial estimates from Paulson's group are conservative, and do not include several possible sources of income, such as concerts and high school sporting events.

  • --There have been no commitments or final decisions from the city regarding how much public money or in what form that money may come for this project.

  • I humbly suggest interested parties download these docs and take a look-see. I wish there was a way to turn off comments without proving you'd downloaded the docs, but alas, I don't hold that kind of sway. Let the flame war begin!