Peter Apanel has been louder than most in Portland when it comes to questioning whether the renovations of PGE Park for the Portland Timbers will actually make the place comfortable enough for the kinds of sellout crowds that city officials are hoping to attract.

In airing his claims, we haven't always treated him so kindly. But he's determined, and now he's turned to the Oregon Department of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS), based on the fact that municipal bonds are central to the upgrades. Apanel has filed a complaint that accuses the city council and Timbers of fraud: hiding "material facts" during the public process leading up to the bond sale—specifically that the renovations fall short of Major League Soccer's design guidelines for its stadiums.

Still, it's a long-shot complaint, even if people who don't want to wait in line for toilets at the stadium might be sympathetic.

City officials have argued that the guidelines are only advisory—and, indeed, the project wouldn't have moved forward without assent from MLS, the very body whose rules the city and Timbers ostensibly have ignored.

But Apanel, who spent years in California reviewing paperwork for public-private development projects, says that may not matter. The city should have publicized the guidelines, anyway. "It's a felony to omit or conceal that information," Apanel argued, citing ORS 59.135.

DFCS confirms it has opened an inquiry into the complaint, but that investigators haven't decided whether to launch a formal probe. Apanel also has been in contact with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.

One source following the back-and-forth, noting the maddening complexity of securities law, said it was too difficult to immediately dismiss Apanel's claims, as tempting as that might be. Though they might seem baseless, "every once in a while..."