Gov. Kate Brown gets $25K from Nike, IAAF 2021 gets another $20M

3/2/2020: Nigel Jaquiss has the story in Willamette Week, here. The donation was made in January. Nike’s ROI is $20,000,000/$25,000, or $800 per dollar invested, assuming the Legislature passes the pork legislation, and Gov. Brown then signs it. She’s term limited, so what will she spend it on?

12/9/2020: Quid Pro Quo for Gov. Kate Brown for IAAF 2021’s public funds?

Say it isn’t so:

Call me a believer in self-interest and public choice economics, but I’m starting to wonder what’s in it for Governor Brown as she doubles down on her efforts to get the state to pay for the Oregon21 IAAF championships.  The Oregonian’s Jeff Manning has been on this since the start, and has a recent report giving Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney’s take:

Brown and others in Salem are confident that the Legislature will be supportive enough to give Brown what she needs. That is, unless Senate President Peter Courtney’s ongoing financial concerns gain traction with other lawmakers.

Courtney predicted an enormous wave of additional financial demands as the event comes closer — and afterwards.

“It’ll be in the hundreds of millions of dollars before it’s over,” he said. “I’m telling you right now, we don’t know how much money they’re going to need and we have no idea where the money is coming from.”

Courtney added that he thinks Brown and the World Championships will carry the day, “I’ve lost,” he said. “The event is coming. I just want to know how big the tsunami is going to be.”

In 2018 Manning had this story on UO Foundation Paul Weinhold’s off again on again promises threats to use the Foundation’s $1B endowment to backstop any losses, given an apparently vacillating guarantee from some anonymous donor named Phil Knight that he’d cover any overages.

Weinhold’s problem, of course, is that Knight would prefer that the state pays, and if his commitment is too firm then Gov. Brown’s appeals to the legislature for money start to look even more suspicious. But if it’s too weak, Seb Coe and the IAAF will start to ask for more assurances – i.e. cash up front from Knight, who didn’t get rich from a poor understanding of backwards induction.

Perhaps the legislature will demand to see the guarantee’s Knight has given Weinhold in writing before writing another check with other people’s money.

At the moment, Weinhold seems to have gone back to claiming he’s got a firm guarantee. Christian Hill had the story in the RG this weekend, here, with this from Gov. Brown:

The full state contribution represents about half the nearly $80.9 million budget for the 10-day event, records show.

“I’m confident we will have the resources we need to pull this event off,” Gov. Kate Brown reassured while speaking to reporters after the event’s Oct. 10 kickoff at the University of Oregon. “We have a number of legislators who are, shall we say, all in.”

“All in”. Yes, I suppose that’s one way to say it.

This story came with the picture above, from the RG’s excellent photographer Chris Pietsch, showing Brown at the UO party for the 2019 officials and athletes. I expect this picture is now at the top of the file of the FBI agents that are investigating this whole mess:

Please don’t send me a takedown notice Chris – I’m still a subscriber!



Years of work by lobbyists Bernard and Batlan to pay off with $20M?

Unfortunately that would be $20M more in funding for the 2021 Track and Feld Championships, not for UO’s academic bucket.

HB 2047 passed the Oregon House by one vote, and goes to the Senate tomorrow. OLIS link here. It seems Hans Bernard and Libby Batlan were being paid out of the academic budget, but working for something or someone else:

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.30.52 AM

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Legislature to increase Hotel Tax to pay for Uncle Phil’s 2021 party?

Ken Goe in the Oregonian has the short version and links to additional stories:

A bill expected to provide enough state funding to honor Gov. Kate Brown’s pledge of $40 million for the 2021 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships squeaked through the Oregon House on Friday.

The bill passed by a vote of 37-18. It needed 36 votes to pass. It now heads to the Senate.

The measure would keep in place the state’s elevated lodging tax. The bill’s passage overcame vocal opposition from advocates for affordable housing and critics of the salaries of executives of Travel Oregon,. Revenue raised by the tax goes first to Travel Oregon, which is expected to pass it on to Oregon21, local organizing committee for the World Outdoor Championships.

The World Outdoor Championships are scheduled next year from Aug. 6-15 at the University of Oregon’s rebuilt Hayward Field in Eugene. More than 200 countries are expected to participate.

This will be the first time the World Outdoor Championships have taken place in the U.S.

Here is The O’s story on the bill’s passage and issues raised in debate.

And here is the R-G story: Bill for state funding of the World Outdoor Championships passes the Oregon House.

Eugene using $9M from street repair bonds for Track & Field prep

The Emerald has a brief story here. For a deeper dive Try this Christian Hill story in the RG from last year. Just $2.5M for consultants? Presumably this is just the start of what the city will pay:

Eugene city officials expect to spend $14 million on the planned three-acre riverfront park, the showpiece of the community’s years-long effort to connect downtown with the Willamette River.

And they anticipate spending another $4 million on the neighboring one-acre plaza, which will be constructed in a future phase.

The park, scheduled to be completed well before the 2021 world track and field championships, includes green space, a rebuilt section of the riverfront path that separates cyclists and walkers, narrower pedestrian paths that connect to overlooks, interpretative exhibits and public art. It is part of the overall transformation of downtown Willamette riverfront land across from Alton Baker Park into an accessible riverfront neighborhood and community destination.

• $10 million for construction;

• $2.5 million for consultant fees;

• $850,000 for utility relocation;

• $650,000 for permitting and fees.

The city has committed $9 million in capital funding to the project already. The funding comes from fees paid by developers and money from parks and street repair bonds that voters approved in two prior years.


Gov Brown helps Oregon21’s Neils De Vos get a visa to collect $40M in public funds

When I go to Great Britain to give a talk and the Queen’s immigration officers find out I’m a professor, they give me a skeptical look, then stamp my passport with a prohibition against recourse to public funds:

But when Niels De Vos wanted a US visa to work in Oregon to run the IAAF’s Oregon21 championships, – with the stated purpose of getting $40M in public funds from Oregon to subsidize it, his cut of which is hidden in the TrackTown budget – Governor Kate Brown didn’t just approve, she let him write her letter to Homeland Security supporting him:

De Vos’s request to Gov Brown’s chief of staff Nik Blosser:

His letter for her to sign:

The IAAF’s letter to De Vos, asking if he’d secured the Governor’s promised $40M yet:



2021 Track Championships to bring more years of scandal to UO

Thanks to a reader for the latest link, from Willamette Week’s Aaron Mesh. It’s a very long story, mostly about Alberto Salazar and Mary Cain. Here’s the UO part:

Welcome to Nike Town

Track scandals arrive just as Oregon takes the world stage.

The allegation that Nike abused runners comes as Oregon is poised to host two of the world’s largest track-and-field events in a renovated stadium partially funded by Phil Knight.

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field will be held at Eugene’s Hayward Field in June. The following year, Hayward will host the World Athletics Championships, a celebration of running.

The two events offer an unprecedentedly high profile for Oregon track. They will showcase a $200 million remodel of Hayward Field, birthplace of Oregon running—and of Nike. They’ve been championed by UO officials and Gov. Kate Brown, who is seeking another $20 million in taxpayer dollars for the 2021 event.

“It’s truly an honor for the city of Eugene, for the state of Oregon and, frankly, for the entire country to be hosting these games for the first time ever,” Brown said Oct. 10 at a press conference announcing the event.

But the allegations of abuse within the Nike Oregon Project threaten to overshadow the party. An event in a stadium paid for with Knight’s money only increases the scrutiny of the culture inside Nike’s elite running program.

Nike is an official sponsor of Team USA, and has close ties to TrackTown USA, the committee hosting the 2020 Olympic trials, and USA Track & Field, the agency that governs the sport.

So far, none of the organizers are distancing themselves from Nike.

When asked about her agency’s response to the recent Nike scandals, USA Track & Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard said, “USATF does not compromise athlete health and safety,” and added that Nike is one of its 14 corporate partners, “none of which make business decisions for the [agency].”

Hazzard adds that both upcoming events are stand-alone events “and will be run with the same professionalism and high standards that are expected at such prestigious events.”

USATF declined to answer specific questions about its stance on the Nike scandals.

The University of Oregon athletics department also declined comment. So did Gov. Brown.


Gov. Brown back from Doha junket in time for TrackTown 21 launch

Update: No quid pro quo, move it along people. New France 24 report here, with quotes from what appears to be a confidential court transcript:

Asked what role Nike played, Coe [employed by Nike] said: “I don’t know. Very little, I would say.”

More Coe from the transcript:

He said he had supported the Eugene bid, but insisted he knew nothing of any promises the American bid might have made to the IAAF or Lamine Diack.

Really? Here’s video of Paul Weinhold and then Sec of State Kate Brown offering the full faith and credit of the UO Foundation’s $1B endowment, and $40M in Oregon funds, here. Coe was at the meeting.

Brown’s is term-limited as Governor, wants to be a Senator, and needs more of Phil Knight’s money to finance a credible run.

10AM 10/10/2019, at the Student Rec Center. She’s still $20M short on the $40M Kitzhaber promised. Apparently this invitation was not widely shared with reporters, so I thought I’d post it:


Oregon Hosts Kickoff Event for World Athletics Championships — Coming to the U.S. for the First Time Ever in August 2021

Launch event held at the University of Oregon will feature Governor Brown and Track & Field World Champions  from present and past

Oregon21, Travel Oregon and the University of Oregon are teaming up to host the kickoff event for the 2021 World Athletics Championships on Oct. 10, 2019, at the Student Recreation Center on the University of Oregon campus. The 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships will come to Oregon Aug. 6-15, 2021. The kickoff will welcome back athletes and representatives from USA Track & Field just returning from this year’s championships in Doha, Qatar. Governor Kate Brown will welcome guests along with other regional, national, and international figures in sports, government and tourism who will answer questions about how they are preparing for this massive, unmissable event. Hayward Field at the University of Oregon will host nearly 2,000 participants with more than 200 countries participating.

The World Athletics Championships will be the largest sporting event in the world in 2021, and this is the first time it has taken place in the United States.


  • Past and present Track & Field World Champions
  • Governor Kate Brown, State of Oregon
  • Mayor Lucy Vinis, Eugene, Ore.
  • President Michael Schill, University of Oregon
  • Local area youth track & field athletes


  • Recent Track & Field World Champions donning their medals.
  • Governor Kate Brown welcoming USATF back to the U.S. following competition in Doha, Qatar
  • Announcement of location for men’s and women’s marathons 


10 a.m. -11:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

10 a.m.-10:35 a.m.                 Main event

10:35 a.m.-11 a.m.                 Breakout sessions (1:1 interviews available)

11 a.m.                                    Rooftop photo opportunity of Hayward Field


University of Oregon Student Recreation Center

1320 E. 15th Avenue

Eugene, OR

Parking information here



Molly Ishkanian

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 277-8370

[email protected]


Deborah Pleva

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 250-4750

[email protected]

Paul Weinhold and Kate Brown Brown want $40M in tax money for this?

And to think this only cost the Duck boosters $400K, or 1 cent in their money to get a  dollar from the public:

Angela Wilhelms, secretary to the UO board, said on behalf of the four trustees: “There is absolutely no correlation between personal political contributions by trustees and any decisions by Gov. Kitzhaber.

“Any insinuation of quid pro quo or any other connection is just flat wrong,” the statement said.

The Manchester Guardian has the latest report:

When Adam Gemili walked towards his blocks in lane seven for his heat of the men’s 200m at the IAAF world championships in Doha on Sunday night, he looked up and waved to friends and family in the grandstand. They would not have been hard to spot among a crowd estimated at around 1,000 scattered around a stadium built for 40,000.

… Nike, the running shoe company who gave Sebastian Coe the contract that he was so loth to forfeit when he became president of the IAAF four years ago in succession to the man he once described as the sport’s “spiritual leader”, the disgraced Lamine Diack. Nike, the company whose negotiations with Felix over a new contract when she became pregnant started a battle over fair payment for sportswomen during the maternity period. The award of the championships to Eugene was made without transparency in any respect …

The IAAF seems to have taken down their video of the 2019 bidding process, but I’ve got a back-up. Here’s former Secretary of State, now Governor Kate Brown, promising the $40M:


How much will Gov Brown’s Doha trip cost Oregon and UO?

Jeff Manning has the story in the Oregonian here. No word if the UO Foundation’s Paul Weinhold will be there too, to reiterate his promise to use the UO Foundation’s endowment money to guarantee this sporting event. A few snippets:

It appears that Brown is getting into the spirit even before the Doha competition begins. She has reassured officials of the sport’s international governing body that she will find an additional $20 million in state support for the Eugene World Championships. The state has already pledged $20 million, raised by an increase in hotel room taxes and grants from the state’s tourism agency.

The International Athletic Associations Federation unexpectedly awarded its biggest event to Eugene in 2015. It was a stunning achievement for Eugene, the first U.S. city and likely the smallest ever to host the event. The city’s reputation as one of the nation’s hotbeds of track and field resonated with IAAF officials, they said later.

But organizers said they need another $20 million from the state, on top of the $20 million already pledged, to make the event happen. To fill that $20 million gap, Brown vowed in an April 25, 2019 letter to the IAAF to come up with the money.

And people wonder why the legislature is getting tired of supporting UO’s academic side?

Who is going to make money off the IAAF championships? Who will pay?

I’m at the Eugene City Council work meeting now, listening to Stephanie Scafa, the city’s 2021 project lead, present a puff piece to the council. Flashy video and handouts. She says “there’s a lot to be excited about”. It’s about “what sort of community we want to be”. “An opportunity to experience the world right here.”

This is the sort of thing I’d expect an Oregon21 PR flack to present – not a city paid employee. I hope she gets some tough questions about what it’s going to cost and who is going to pay.

Syrett: What is the financial contribution – particularly police? [Say, is this why the Council voted for a new police tax? Also asks about new AirBNB regulations – presumably this will include another tax so the city can get their cut.]

Semple: Seems skeptical of the link to the arts that excites Syrett. Wants to know how we can house 50,000 fans, but not our homeless.

Clark: How can we use this opportunity to solve some long-term community need? [My A: We can’t. Read up on the public impact of every Olympics ever held. Instead we’ll waste money on it that we could spend on those other needs. But hey – we’re getting more murals!]

Selenka: Can we at least get another Portland train out of it? Scafa: No. We’ll have shuttles. [Uber?]

Other Planner: UO is creating “An Olympic style athletic village for this. [That’s explains why we’re building new dorms, when enrollment is flat. Will the students pay, or will Pres Schill squeeze Oregon 21?]

Duck’s Vin Lananna sings to feds, Tracktown gets $10M for IAAF 2021

Lananna, who’s on the UO payroll for several hundred large, asked the Governor for $40M in state subsidies. He’s now got $10M. If you think that’s the end of it you haven’t read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, or Ken Goe’s update in the Oregonian here.

The Oregon DOJ held up Tracktown’s $10M grant from Travel Oregon for a full year by requiring that they provide a budget and a disclaimer that there were no legal issues, despite the FBI investigation. UO and Tracktown told the press that the Feds hadn’t contacted them. Lananna didn’t tell GC Kevin Reed?

The budget and reporting requirements are now hilariously out of date, and Lananna and Reilly’s admission is scrawled out in pen:

What could go wrong? Rumor has it that UO has now appointed an administrator to deal with it all. I wonder who is paying their salary.

The full grant of $10M in state funds is here:

10/8/2018 – Tracktown / Oregon21 replaces Vin Lananna with Niels De Vos as head of IAAF 2021 championship

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