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Competing ballpark plans in Portland

Northwest LeagueWe have a second ballpark plan emerging in suburban Portland, as Milwaukie (Ore.) officials are working with a former PGE Park vice president on a 4,000-seat ballpark for a short-season A Northwest League team.

The plan from Milwaukie calls for 4,000-seat, $20-$30 million ballpark to be built on the Portland-Milwaukie light-rail corridor at a a state-owned maintenance yard. The site also includes a 1938 historic structure that could be converted to a brewpub by a prominent local vendor.

The city has no commitment from the Northwest League or a team. Currently the Yakima Bears owners are in negotiations with Clark County over a ballpark to be located on the Clark College campus; the team would put up 30 percent of the costs of construction. But Mike Higgins, former senior vice president of Portland’s PGE Park, is said by city officials to be in negotiations to buy a Northwest League team and move it to Portland. Milwaukie officials says their efforts do not compete with the Clark County efforts, but there certainly are some territorial issues here: Milwaukie is on the south side of the Portland metro area on the Oregon side, while the Clark College ballpark site is about 16 miles to the north, on the Washington side of downtown Portland. A study regarding Clark County says most of the attendees at a ballgame there would be Clark County residents, and it’s hard to see someone on the southside of Portland wanting to fight their way across downtown for a ballgame. Still, putting two minor-league ballparks in such close proximity doesn’t seem to be something the Northwest League or Minor League Baseball would sign off on.

The Portland marketed was vacated by the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) at the end of the 2011 season, while PGE Park now converted to an MLS pro-soccer facility.

RELATED STORIES: 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


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