Seeing an opportunity to bring a Northwest League team to suburban Portland, Milwaukie officials have commissioned a feasibility study to determine whether to move forward with a new ballpark.
The city is paying $84,500 to three firms — Innovative Campaign Strategies, 360 Architecture and Capital Project Consultants — to determine community support for a ballpark, map a preliminary ballpark design and float ideas for project financing. The ballpark for a short-season A team is expected to cost between $20 million and $30 million.
Portland is considered to be the most desirable open market in baseball after the departure of the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) at the end of the 2010 season. There was no professional baseball in Portland last season — a development that benefited the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (short season A; Northwest League) in terms of attendance — and a proposed ballpark in Clark County appears to be stalled for the moment. The Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) had until Sept. 23 to finalize a ballpark plan within the team’s exclusive negotiating agreement with Minor League Baseball for the greater Portland territory.
The plan from Milwaukie calls for 4,000-seat 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. Mike Higgins, former senior vice president of Portland’s PGE Park, has been working on the plan.
RELATED STORIES: 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
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