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County scales back commitment to Portland-area ballpark

Yakima BearsA 2012 opening for a new Clark College ballpark for the relocating Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) is in serious doubt after Clark County officials scaled back their financial commitment to the plan.

At a work session last week, the county commissioners walked away from a funding plan where the Bears would pay 30 percent of construction costs and the county 70 percent to a new plan where the county pays 30 percent, the Bears pay 40 percent and some unnamed entity pays 30 percent.

Officially, that is. Unofficially, the commissioners singled out Clark College as being capable of paying for 30 percent of the $22.7-million construction cost because, as Commissioner Tom Mielke said, “Clark College has more money than God.”

That led to a quick response from Clark College president Bob Knight, who pointed out that Clark College a) did not have more money than God and b) had no intention of contributing anything more than land to the project. 

The ongoing discussions over money means one thing for certain: unless there’s some sort of breakthrough soon, it’s a certainty the Bears will be playing in Yakima in 2012. That means another year of no pro baseball for residents of the greater Portland area, though 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.

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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