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Published on February 26, 2024
Portland Trail Blazers Secure Future at Moda Center with New Lease Deal Through 2030Source: CrispyCream27, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Portland Trail Blazers are set to stay at the Moda Center for at least another half a decade, with an option to round it out to a cool fifteen years, thanks to a new lease agreement with the city of Portland. As the current lease inches closer to its expiration in October 2025, the City Council and Rip City Management, which handles Moda Center operations have come to terms on prolonging the partnership. This tentative deal opens the door for a long-term placeholder contract that includes deferred aspirations for substantial renovations and a potential shot in the arm for the Rose Quarter district.

The pact, which is set to be presented to the Portland City Council next week, offers a five-year extension through October 2030, and the possibility to tack on another five, Wheeling us into the 2035 neighborhood. "Extending our partnerships with Rip City Management and the Trail Blazers is a win for Portland," Mayor Ted Wheeler was quoted saying in a press release, per Portland Business Journal. The figureheads of this agreement, Blazers president of business operations Dewayne Hankins and Wheeler, anticipate this so-called "bridge agreement" to serve up just enough breathing room for hashing out a more durable plan that could pump life into the venue and the neighborhood it calls home.

Additional sources revealed to KGW that beyond securing the Blazers' spot on Portland's court, the lease extension and the suggested revivification of the arena and the Rose Quarter could entice WNBA expansion in the foreseeable future. Hankins shared in the unbridled optimism, saying, "This partnership would ultimately keep the Trail Blazers in Portland for years to come."

Under the new resolution, ownership of the Moda Center will shift to the city for a solitary dollar, a move that reeks of formality but is poised to enable public investment into the facility during the bridge's lifespan, and, all stars aligning, under the aegis of a subsequent term. This ownership transition has been on the cards since the first arena ground lease was drawn up in 1995, according to information reported by the Portland Business Journal. This strategic game of real estate hot potato is set to serve as a potential alley-oop for large-scale renovations down the road.

Capturing the Blazers' legacy, Bleacher Report hearkened back to the team's 1977 NBA championship glory, a feat they haven't replicated despite making impressive playoffs runs since. While the team recently traded superstar Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, embarking on a clear rebuild, securing the Moda Center as their playing ground establishes some much-needed stability for the franchise's future endeavors, both on and off the hardwood.