Top Menu

It’s official: Yakima Bears to Hillsboro in 2013

New Hillsboro ballpark

It’s official: the Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) are moving to a new Hillsboro (Ore.) ballpark next year, after the two sides agreed on a lease today.

It’s not a surprise: the two sides had agreed on a term sheet earlier, so there were only some small details to work out before the Hillsboro City Council approved the measure today on a 5-0 vote. Team owners Mike and Laura McMurray and GM K.L. Wombacher were on hand to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with the assembled crowd after the vote.

Under the provisions of the lease — detailed here — the Bears will pay $150,000 annually in rent, rising by 3 percent annually for the 20-year term. The team will retain all ballpark revenue, with the city keeping parking revenue and a $1 ticket surcharge. Hillsboro will keep 70 percent of any naming-rights revenue, with the team keeping 30 percent. The city will issue bonds to pay for the new facility; in an unusual move these days, city general funds could be invoked to pay off bonds should rent, parking and ticket revenue not be enough to cover debt. (This seems likely: if the team draws 180,000 fans annually and the city makes an average naming-rights deal, ballpark revenues should total $855,000 or so annually.) The $15.2 million figure discussed here is the total cost of the project, including bonding costs. Hillsboro will manage the ballpark and retain the right to hold events there on non-game days.

Groundbreaking of the ballpark is tentatively set for October, with a June 2013 opening planned. Hoffman Construction will design and build the new facility. The Bears’ lease in Yakima runs through 2015 but can be broken if the team pays a penalty.

The move marks the return of professional baseball to the greater Portland area, left vacant when the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) moved to Tucson. Another ballpark effort in nearby Milwaukie is also underway.

Image courtesy of Hillsboro.

RELATED STORIES: Hillsboro: We have deal with Yakima BearsDebate continues: Can Portland area support two short-season teams?Milwaukie, Northwest League discussing team, ballparkHillsboro approves offer sheet to Yakima BearsHillsboro set to vote on new ballpark; Milwaukie will delay decisionMilwaukie advances, Hillsboro retreats in Portland-area ballpark raceYakima County: We’ll discuss ballpark upgradesPlan B for Bears: Work on Yakima ballpark planAdmissions tax voted down in Clark CountyMilwaukie seeks public input on new ballparkMilwaukie moves ahead with ballpark-feasibility studyClark County postpones ballpark hearingCounty scales back commitment to Portland-area ballparkCompeting ballpark plans in PortlandNew Portland-area ballpark could provide economical bump: studyClark County reverses course; will exclusively negotiate with BearsClark County passes on exclusive negotiations with Bears; opposition to new ballpark risesFunding plan emerges for new Clark County ballpark;Yakima Bears to Portland area


Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at

Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.

Join Ballpark Digest on Facebook and on Twitter!

Follow Ballpark Digest on Google + and add us to your circles!

, , , , , , , , ,