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Clark County passes on exclusive negotiations with Bears; opposition to new ballpark rises

Yakima BearsA move by the Yakima Bears (short season; Northwest League) is by no means a sure thing as Clark County passes on signing a exclusivity agreement and some residents say they don’t want a new ballpark in their neighborhood.

Clark County is located opposite Portland, Oregon on the Washington State side of the metro area. With the loss of the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), there’s been efforts to bring pro baseball back to what’s still seen as a good market. The Bears weren’t the only ones looking at the metro area, but they were the first to come forth with a deal.

A deal that’s encountering some competition. First, the three-person Clark County Board of Commissioners passed on signing a exclusivity deal with the Bears ownership, as one holdout commissioner opposed the deal because he feared it made too much of a commitment to a ballpark. (That he also opposes the new ballpark based on feedback from two constituents shows where he’s coming from — but he’s virulently anti-tax and would likely oppose any public financing anyway.)

It will likely come down to a single vote on the three-person board, with one commissioner in favor of the deal and one against. To be located on the Clark College campus, the new ballpark is projected to cost $23 million, with 70 percent coming from the county (perhaps in the form of an amusement tax) and 30 percent from the team. Marc Boldt, who represents the swing vote, was already on record supporting negotiations with the Bears, and we expect him to continue with that stance — but whether those negotiations yield a new-ballpark agreement remains to be seen.

RELATED STORIES: Funding plan emerges for new Clark County ballpark; Yakima Bears to Portland area


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