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New Beavers ballpark wouldn’t happen until 2012 — at the earliest

Despite the stated wish of Merritt Paulson to have the Portland Beavers playing in a new Rose Quarter ballpark by 2011, planning officials told the Portland City Council that timeline is pretty much impossible.
A planner working on a master plan for an entertainment district next to the Rose Garden that could conceivably feature a new Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) says the earliest such a district could be completed is 2012 — at best.

He made the comments at a meeting of the Portland City Council yesterday, as that body took up the delicate issue of tearing down Memorial Coliseum to make way for an entertainment district next to the Willamette River. Planning on the development of the entertainment district proposed by the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Douglas Obletz, president of Seattle-based development firm Shiels Obletz Johnsen, is less than 2 percent along. He flat-out said there’s no way the entertainment district would be opening by 2011.

That’s at odds with the vision laid out by Beavers and Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, who wants to see a new Bevos ballpark open in 2011 to coincide with a soccer-only renovation of PGE Park for MLS soccer.

(By the way, we were right the other day when we speculated Cordish would be a player in the deal. Indeed, that’s the firm that’s been talking with the Portland Trail Blazers about an entertainment district next to the Rose Garden — but given Cordish’s record lately of pulling off such deals, the Portland City Council may want to walk in with both eyes open.)

The council also heard a discussion of tearing down Memorial Coliseum, which seems to be growing exponentially in importance daily as a Portland landmark. Preservationists say there’s little reason to tear down the building when it’s still being used — albeit as a secondary, poorly maintained facility.

RELATED STORIES: Cost of Portland redevelopment mushrooms to almost $300 million; Crunching the numbers on a new Bevos ballpark; Portland proposes tearing down Memorial Coliseum for new Bevos ballpark; Portland City Council votes to move ahead with new Bevos ballpark — but takes $15 million from the equation; Paulson agrees to Portland’s financial demands; still may not be enough; Bevos ballpark plan runs into serious financial obstacles; Portland task force gives preliminary approval to new Bevos ballpark — with plenty of conditions; Portland ballpark discussion shifts to Rose Quarter; Decision on new Bevos ballpark location delayed; Will new ballpark fly in Lents?

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