The Hillsboro (Ore.) City Council is expected to approve a lease for a new ballpark with the Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) after meetings tonight.
The council is scheduled for a work session to discuss changes to a proposed lease and ballpark agreement with the Bears, who would move to a new facility at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex for the 2013 season. Following the work session, the lease will be up for a vote, and all parties are expecting to come to final agreement tonight: team owners Mike and Laura McMurray and GM K.L. Wombacher are expected to be on hand.
Under the provisions of the lease — detailed here — the Bears will pay $150,000 annually in rent, rising by 3 percent annually for the 20-year term. The team will retain all ballpark revenue, with the city keeping parking revenue and a $1 ticket surcharge. Hillsboro will keep 70 percent of any naming-rights revenue, with the team keeping 30 percent. The city will issue bonds to pay for the new facility; in an unusual move these days, city general funds could be invoked to pay off bonds should rent, parking and ticket revenue not be enough to cover debt. (This seems likely: if the team draws 180,000 fans annually and the city makes an average naming-rights deal, ballpark revenues should total $855,000 or so annually.) The $15.2 million figure discussed here is the total cost of the project, including bonding costs. Hillsboro will manage the ballpark and retain the right to hold events there on non-game days.
Groundbreaking of the ballpark is tentatively set for October, with a June 2013 opening planned. Hoffman Construction will design and build the new facility. The Bears’ lease in Yakima runs through 2015 but can be broken if the team pays a penalty.
The move marks the return of professional baseball to the greater Portland area, left vacant when the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) moved to Tucson. Another ballpark effort in nearby Milwaukie is also underway.
Image courtesy of Hillsboro.
RELATED STORIES: Hillsboro: We have deal with Yakima Bears; Debate continues: Can Portland area support two short-season teams?; Milwaukie, Northwest League discussing team, ballpark; Hillsboro approves offer sheet to Yakima Bears; Hillsboro set to vote on new ballpark; Milwaukie will delay decision; Milwaukie advances, Hillsboro retreats in Portland-area ballpark race; Yakima County: We’ll discuss ballpark upgrades; Plan B for Bears: Work on Yakima ballpark plan; Admissions tax voted down in Clark County; Milwaukie seeks public input on new ballpark; Milwaukie moves ahead with ballpark-feasibility study; Clark County postpones ballpark hearing; County scales back commitment to Portland-area ballpark; Competing ballpark plans in Portland; New Portland-area ballpark could provide economical bump: study; Clark County reverses course; will exclusively negotiate with Bears; Clark County passes on exclusive negotiations with Bears; opposition to new ballpark rises; Funding plan emerges for new Clark County ballpark;Yakima Bears to Portland area
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.