A 5 percent admissions tax to partially fund a new ballpark for the relocating Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) was voted down today by Clark County Commissioners on a 2-1 vote.
Passage of the tax on admissions to entertainment and sports venues was never assured, with one solid vote for and one solid vote against. Commissioner Marc Boldt was the swing vote, and he declined to support it.
The proposal was altered several times in recent weeks to garner the elusive second vote. Of the 5 percent tax, $800,000 would annually be put toward a new $19.5-million ballpark — some $20 million over 25 years. The Bears would then arrange financing for the ballpark, backed with the proceeds of the tax. This proposal was thought to be more palatable to some local politicians when it was determine additional revenues would go toward non-ballpark spending in Vancouver (where the new ballpark would be located, on the Clark College campus). In addition, Clark College stepped up and pledged $3.5 million toward capital costs; the Bears were slated to pay $4 million.
The Bears were first to come up with a solid ballpark proposal in the greater Portland area, considered to be one of the best open markets in baseball.
The defeat of the measure should give some life to a competing ballpark proposal in Milwaukie, also located in the greater Portland area. 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. Currently Milwaukie officials are seeking public input into the proposal. Milwaukie has also been working with a Northwest League team on the proposal.
RELATED STORIES: Milwaukie seeks public input on new ballpark; Milwaukie moves ahead with ballpark-feasibility study; 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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