Despite the impending move of the Yakima Bears to Hillsboro, Milwaukie officials say they’re in negotiations with the short-season A Northwest League to bring another team to the Portland (OR) area.
The viability of two teams in the greater Portland market has been a point of discussion in recent weeks as both Hillsboro and Milwaukie have sought a short-season team. Many think the Portland market could support two teams, especially Hillsboro and Milwaukie: Hillsboro is to the west and much more suburban in feel, while Milwaukie is to the southeast and more tied to Portland proper, with mass transit running from the center of Portland to Milwaukie. Jack Cain, the man at the center of minor-league baseball in the Rose City for decades, says it could work, and Northwest League President Bob Richmond has been quoted as saying the issue is worthy of more study.
Placing two teams in Portland — and taking into account the rights of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes — would mean bending MiLB’s territorial rules, but this would seem to be a unique situation that would warrant bending those rules. But it could happen here, as Richmond and Milwaukie officials discuss the possbility of Northwest League ball in that city. From The Oregonian:
“We’re talking to them and gathering information, but we’re still in the preliminary stages,” Richmond said. “We get contacted by a lot of cities.”
Still, the fact that discussions are happening is a good thing: the territorial rules aren’t as of yet being invoked, and the term sheet between Hillsboro and the Yakima Bears explicitly addresses the possbility of another team in the Portland area, to the point where there’s a defined split of revenues should a territorial fee be paid. Milwaukie officials want to know by the end of July whether there’s a commitment to bring a team to that city; if so, a new $25-million ballpark could be in serious planning stages this summer.
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