Stadium PR

Ems Stadium will cost taxpayers

$100 Million

Stadium PR

Ems Stadium will cost taxpayers

$100 Million

Ems Stadium will cost taxpayers $100 Million

Is that the best use of our taxpayers’ dollars? Maybe not. We want citizens to understand what’s happening so you can decide. We all love the Ems, but should we pay to build them a stadium? Here’s what you need to know:

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: CITY COUNCIL ALLOWS BOND VOTE TO PROCEED

The Eugene City Council decided March 13th to allow a bond vote in May to proceed on whether or not Eugene residents should pay $15 million in tax dollars toward a new stadium for the Eugene Emeralds.

The Council had said it wanted more information from the Lane County Board of Commissioners, but in their meeting this week, councilors said they would leave it up to voters to decide.  Left unanswered are questions about a funding plan for operations and maintenance that won’t rely on city resources. Commissioners also met this week to discuss the stadium but didn’t take any action.

Backers want the $100 million stadium to be built at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene. The project may require removal and rebuilding of livestock facilities, a possibility that could add $10 million to the stadium project.

Also left unanswered is whether the county would use Transient Lodging Taxes (TLT) to fund an estimated $35 million of the project. TLT are mandated by the state to be used to promote tourism, but a stadium for the Ems would likely draw few tourists from outside of Lane County for overnight stays.

EMAIL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL
If you’d like to send an email to elected officials to voice your opinion, get started with any of the three emails below.

1

No Guarantees

The Ems need a new stadium to comply with new Major League Baseball (MLB) standards, and they want Lane County to build it at the Lane Events Center. Despite their request for a huge financial commitment from the community, there is no obligation for the Ems to remain in Eugene or for MLB to keep them in the league. A recent reorganization by Major League Baseball has left 40 municipalities seeking long-term solutions for their abandoned stadiums. Read about the cities that have built minor league ballparks with taxpayer money that now sit vacant because they no longer have baseball teams. And take a look at this long list of ballparks abandoned by major league teams and their minor league affiliates from 1999 through 2021. Baseball stadiums cannot be easily repurposed. They are built for one thing – baseball. Read this guest viewpoint published in the Eugene Weekly detailing the rising costs and unanswered questions related to the Ems’ ballpark plan.

1

No Guarantees

The Ems need a new stadium to comply with new Major League Baseball (MLB) standards, and they want Lane County to build it at the Lane Events Center. Despite their request for a huge financial commitment from the community, there is no obligation for the Ems to remain in Eugene or for MLB to keep them in the league. A recent reorganization by Major League Baseball has left 40 municipalities seeking long-term solutions for their abandoned stadiums. Read about the cities that have built minor league ballparks with taxpayer money that now sit vacant because they no longer have baseball teams. And take a look at this long list of ballparks abandoned by major league teams and their minor league affiliates from 1999 through 2021. Baseball stadiums cannot be easily repurposed. They are built for one thing – baseball. Read this guest viewpoint published in the Eugene Weekly detailing the rising costs and unanswered questions related to the Ems’ ballpark plan.
4

Lodging Taxes Are Intended For Tourism

The Lane County Board of Commissioners has proposed using $35 million in Transient Lodging Taxes (TLT) to partially fund the stadium. Oregon law stipulates that TLT funds must be used to fund tourism promotion and facilities, such as a conference center, convention center, visitor information center or other property that supports tourism. A stadium would not be a substantial draw for tourists, as most Ems fans live here. If we spend $35 million in TLT funds on the Ems’ stadium, no other major projects could be funded to support local tourism for two decades.

4

Lodging Taxes Are Intended For Tourism

The Lane County Board of Commissioners has proposed using $35 million in Transient Lodging Taxes (TLT) to partially fund the stadium. Oregon law stipulates that TLT funds must be used to fund tourism promotion and facilities, such as a conference center, convention center, visitor information center or other property that supports tourism. A stadium would not be a substantial draw for tourists, as most Ems fans live here. If we spend $35 million in TLT funds on the Ems’ stadium, no other major projects could be funded to support local tourism for two decades.

2

We Don’t Know The Long-Term Costs, Impacts

We don’t know how much it will cost to operate and maintain the stadium or what the economic impact will be because no credible economic analysis or pro forma operating budget has been shared with the community. Not knowing the operating costs, revenue streams, or where revenue would be directed makes it impossible to calculate a return on investment or compare it to other projects. It is irresponsible for elected officials to commit additional dollars to the stadium while these questions remain unanswered. Without a Master Plan for the Lane Events Center, there’s little opportunity for community input from fairgoers and taxpayers. Studies find these types of sports stadiums don’t spur economic growth.

2

We Don’t Know The Long-Term Costs, Impacts

We don’t know how much it will cost to operate and maintain the stadium or what the economic impact will be because no credible economic analysis or pro forma operating budget has been shared with the community. Not knowing the operating costs, revenue streams, or where revenue would be directed makes it impossible to calculate a return on investment or compare it to other projects. It is irresponsible for elected officials to commit additional dollars to the stadium while these questions remain unanswered. Without a Master Plan for the Lane Events Center, there’s little opportunity for community input from fairgoers and taxpayers. Studies find these types of sports stadiums don’t spur economic growth.
5

The City Has Been Asked to Contribute $15 million

The Ems have asked the City of Eugene to contribute $15 million to the stadium project, despite the city having made deep cuts to its most-recent budget due to a substantial financial shortfall. In an effort to let voters decide, the City Council is deciding whether to put a $15 million bond measure before voters this spring. If certain conditions are met, the bond measure could appear on Eugene voters’ election ballot in May. The City Council is asking Lane County for a firm commitment to move forward with the project, along with a long-term funding plan that includes operations and maintenance. The City Council will decide in March whether to keep a referred bond measure on the ballot or rescind it before the May election.

5

The City Has Been Asked to Contribute $15 million

The Ems have asked the City of Eugene to contribute $15 million to the stadium project, despite the city having made deep cuts to its most-recent budget due to a substantial financial shortfall. In an effort to let voters decide, the City Council is deciding whether to put a $15 million bond measure before voters this spring. If certain conditions are met, the bond measure could appear on Eugene voters’ election ballot in May. The City Council is asking Lane County for a firm commitment to move forward with the project, along with a long-term funding plan that includes operations and maintenance. The City Council will decide in March whether to keep a referred bond measure on the ballot or rescind it before the May election.

3

Ems Stadium Should Not Be Built With Public Funds

The Ems stadium project is projected to cost $100 million or more. Proposed sources for funding include $1.5 million in federal tax dollars, $7.5 million in state tax dollars, and $35 million in locally generated Lane County lodging tax dollars (TLT funds) – all public funds. The Ems’ have said they will contribute $13.4 million up front, which will pay for their 20-year operating lease, furniture, fixtures and equipment for their team. The remaining $43 million is currently unfunded. By comparison, the Hillsboro Hops owner is contributing $75 million of the $120 million it will cost to build its new stadium. Lane County has already spent more than $700,000 in non-fixed expenses related to this proposed project.

3

Ems Stadium Should Not Be Built With Public Funds

The Ems stadium project is projected to cost $100 million or more. Proposed sources for funding include $1.5 million in federal tax dollars, $7.5 million in state tax dollars, and $35 million in locally generated Lane County lodging tax dollars (TLT funds) – all public funds. The Ems’ have said they will contribute $13.4 million up front, which will pay for their 20-year operating lease, furniture, fixtures and equipment for their team. The remaining $43 million is currently unfunded. By comparison, the Hillsboro Hops owner is contributing $75 million of the $120 million it will cost to build its new stadium. Lane County has already spent more than $700,000 in non-fixed expenses related to this proposed project.

6

Lane Events Center Belongs To Us

The Ems is owned by multi-million dollar Elmore Sports Group Ltd., a for-profit, out-of-state company. The Lane Events Center belongs to the residents of Lane County. The proposed stadium footprint would take a purported 9.5 acres (20%) of publicly owned land at the Lane Events Center. An allocation like this would force big conferences to go elsewhere – an example is the Oregon Logging Conference, held each year in February when tourism dollars are most needed. If the stadium is built, the logging conference could no longer take place on the Fairgrounds, resulting in a loss of $5.5 million in economic impact from visitor spending. Whether the Lane County Fair and other events could continue to operate on the Fairgrounds is also in question. Learn more about possible site constraints and the impacts, outlined by the Concerned Fairground Neighbors group.

6

Lane Events Center Belongs To Us

The Ems is owned by multi-million dollar Elmore Sports Group Ltd., a for-profit, out-of-state company. The Lane Events Center belongs to the residents of Lane County. The proposed stadium footprint would take a purported 9.5 acres (20%) of publicly owned land at the Lane Events Center. An allocation like this would force big conferences to go elsewhere – an example is the Oregon Logging Conference, held each year in February when tourism dollars are most needed. If the stadium is built, the logging conference could no longer take place on the Fairgrounds, resulting in a loss of $5.5 million in economic impact from visitor spending. Whether the Lane County Fair and other events could continue to operate on the Fairgrounds is also in question. Learn more about possible site constraints and the impacts, outlined by the Concerned Fairground Neighbors group.
$1.5 M
IN FEDERAL TAX
$7.5 M
IN STATE TAX
$35 M
IN LODGING TAX

Stadium PR Money Icon

$1.5 M
IN FEDERAL TAX
$7.5 M
IN STATE TAX
$35 M
IN LODGING TAX

Stadium PR Money Icon

Email Lane County Commissioners & City Councilors

If you have questions or concerns about using $100 million in public monies to fund the Ems stadium on county property, contact your County Commissioners and City Councilors. Feel free to use the following content for your email and make it your own.

Email Template #1

Don’t hijack tourism tax revenue

I am writing in opposition of allocating Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) funds to build or operate a baseball stadium for the Eugene Emeralds.

Generated by overnight visitors, this tax is intended to fund tourism promotion and tourism-related facilities. If we are going to use TLT funding for a facility, that facility must, by law, be either a conference center, convention center or visitor information center, or other improved real property that has a useful life of 10 or more years and has a substantial purpose of supporting tourism or accommodating tourist activities.

Tourists, as defined by Oregon statute, are people who travel 50 miles or more to visit our community and stay overnight for the purpose of business, pleasure, recreation or to participate in events. A baseball stadium will not draw a significant number of tourists to our area, and it will not generate the economic activity we so desperately need during the winter and shoulder seasons, when tourism is lowest. The majority of Ems fans live here.

Proponents claim that a new stadium will reap economic benefits, but studies conducted by economists and tourism experts have invalidated the idea that publicly funded baseball stadiums are financially profitable for anyone other than the teams’ owners.

I ask that you consider the long-term ramifications of allocating lodging tax dollars to a project that will not generate the tourism or economic activity for which the Transient Lodging Tax was intended.

Email Template #2

We need more transparency

For more than six months, Taxpayers for Transparency (TFT) has asked for public transparency related to the Eugene Emeralds’ request to build a new baseball stadium with taxpayer dollars on public property at the Lane County Fairgrounds.

Specifically, we have asked for information related to future maintenance, operating costs and the community’s return on investment if this project were to move forward. That information has yet to come to light. These details are essential and should be part of any decision-making process and be made available for public comment.

For a community that prides itself on public process and transparency, this proposed project has fallen short in all areas. As much as we all want to see the Ems remain in Eugene, I cannot support this project until we know more.

I ask that you make available all information related to the long-term costs and impacts of planning, building, maintaining and operating a new baseball stadium on publicly owned property, and detail our community’s estimated economic return on such an investment.

We rely on our elected officials to do their due diligence, make this information available and allow for public comment before making a decision of such magnitude.

Email Template #3

Let Ems’ owners pay for stadium

I’m writing to say that I do not support the spending of public tax dollars to build a baseball stadium for a for-profit company that has the means to build a stadium on its own.

Elmore Sports Group (ESG), which owns the Ems, is a conglomerate of baseball teams, professional hockey clubs and more, and one of the largest ownership groups in Minor League Baseball, with a track record of moving its teams around, having carried out three such moves in 2019.

In an effort to get taxpayers to pay for a new stadium, this multi-million-dollar company and its management have tugged at the heartstrings of local families, fans and elected officials who understandably do not want to lose their baseball team.

What we need to realize is that Elmore Sports Group owns the ballparks for most of its teams and has enough assets to build a stadium here without using public funds and still generate a profit.

Do we want to lose the Ems? No. We just want them to pay for their own stadium.

Our local government should not be building facilities for for-profit companies. Our community needs to invest in public facilities that encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and a robust economy. A year-round, indoor sports facility would support all of those things, for all of us.

Project Funding

Project Funding

Total Budget

$100,000,000

Identified Funding

Federal Immediate Occupancy
(for emergency use)
$1,500,000

State Funds
$7,500,000

Lane County Lodging Tax (TLT)
$35,000,000

Eugene Emeralds Pre-Paid Rent & Equipment
$13,461,000

Total
$57,461,000

Deficit
$43,008,000

Potential Funding Sources

Additional Federal Immediate Occupancy
(requested)
$1,500,000

Additional State Funds
(denied in 2023, will try again in 2024)
$7,500,000

City of Eugene
$15,000,000

Ems Sponsors
$???

ABOUT TAXPAYERS FOR TRANSPARENCY

Taxpayers for Transparency is a newly formed community advocacy group that’s seeking public input and transparency related to the Eugene Emeralds’ proposed minor league baseball stadium and how it will be funded. The group consists of local community members and business persons.

ALKO Hotels

America’s Hub
World Tours

Jon Anderson

Lynn Ash

Bill Avery

Lorna Baldwin

Tim Baxter

Thia Bell

Helen Berg

Ben Bonner

Richard Boyles

Lisa Bray

John Brobst

Mary Brooner

George Bryson

Ma’Carry Cairo

Robert Canaga

Virginia Canavan

Candlewood Suites
Eugene

Sarah Cantril

Joi Cardinal

Robert Carp

Carol Cheshire

Carl Chieffo

Comfort Suites
Springfield

Comfort Suites
University Hotel

Concerned Fairground
Neighbors

Susan Connolly

Todd Cooley

Courtworks, Inc.

Courtyard
Eugene/Springfield

Roxanne Creamer

Creative Wave
Marketing Solutions

Kimberly Cronin-Ross

David Crowell

Jim Cupples

Liz Dahlager

Anya Dobrowolski

Mike Drennan

Fairfield Inn &
Suites Eugene

Ron Farmer

Florence Area
Chamber of Commerce

Friends of
Siuslaw County

Bruce Gates

Glen Gibbons

Matt Graff

Rick Gross

Jan Halvorson

Sonja Halvorson

Victoria Hancock

Steve Hering

Becca Hill

David Hoffman

Holiday Inn
Eugene/Springfield

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Eugene/Downtown

Talleen Holloway

Brian Holte

Paul Howard

Sheila Hunt

Hyatt Place Eugene

InnCline Management

Cathy Irwin

Julie Johns

Tom Jordan

Jim Kocher

Mike Koivula

Holly Knight

Charlie Larson

Dianne Luiz

Vic Martin

Maverick Hotel

Bonny McCornack

Kerin McCurdy

Joseph McIntyre

Allen McWayne

Mereté Hotel
Management

Kim Morrison

John Mosby

Vicky Mosby

Billie Moser

Michael Newman

Dennis Nowak

Oregon Logging
Conference

Oregon Tour Experts

Alan Overwater

Alice Parman

Alpesh Patel

Amit Patel

Dhruti Patel

Komal Patel

Pranav Patel

Tina Patel

David Penilton

Debbie Petersen

Quality Inn & Suites
Springfield

Paul Raether

Karen Ramus

Random Lengths
Publications

Residence Inn Eugene

Lani Rookard

Jennifer Rowan-Henry

Rick Rubin

Dawn Scott

Bob Siegmund

Lin Sime

George Shaefer

Gabby Shaffer

Carolee von Shillagh

Paula Shirey

Debbie Shute

Sarah Smith

Keith Stanton

Scott Steward

Jerry Stracke

Sycan Development Corp

Tru by Hilton Eugene

Cindy Turell

Dana Turell

Turell Group

University Inn &
Suites Eugene

Vicki Van Patten

Zachary Vishanoff

Sven Visser

Lisa Warnes

Rikki Wellman

Peter Wengert

Ed Westlund

Christian Wihtol

Jody Wiser

Martine Wodke

Ron Wyckoff

Erik Young

JOIN TAXPAYERS FOR TRANSPARENCY

Fill out this form to join Taxpayers for Transparency and be added to the list on the website.

Thank you! We appreciate your support. We have received your submission.