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Vaughn Street Portland MLB Ballpark Site Off Market

Vaughn Street, Portland

One of the potential sites for a Portland MLB ballpark — the ESCO Corp. foundry location that formerly hosted the old Vaughn Street Park for MiLB’s Portland Beavers — is now off the market after being sold.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the site won’t be used for a potential Portland MLB ballpark, but it could complicate efforts by the Portland Diamond Project to acquire enough land for a facility. In a much-publicized move last month, Portland Diamond Project identified potential ballpark sites and has since added another site to the mix.

The Northwest Portland site was once home to Vaughn Street Park. The ESCO foundry (shown above; ESCO stands for Electric Steel Foundry Corporation) sat next to Vaughn Street Park, the long-time home to Portland Beavers minor-league baseball. Vaughn Street Park (shown above) opened in 1901 and was home to the Bevos until 1956, when the team moved to Multnomah Stadium (now Providence Park, home to MLS’s Portland Timbers). ESCO then took control of the Vaughn Street Park site and expanded its foundry operations, but in recent years scaled back its site usage and placed the land on the market. The plan from Portland Diamond Project is to have a 32,000-seat ballpark as the centerpiece of a multiuse development that could include up to 8,000 apartments.

To bring that vision to life, it will require dealing with the real-estate investors now owning the 22-acre site. From The Oregonian:

The group of buyers include a slate of familiar names with deep interests in Northwest Portland.

Among them: Pearl District developer Al Solheim; Walsh Construction cofounder Bob Walsh; Noel Johnson, a principal in the development firm Cairn Pacific; former bank executive Bob Ames; Warren Rosenfeld, the president of a Northwest Portland recycling firm; real-estate investor Roger Burpee; and his son, real-estate broker Greg Burpee. The group also includes an investor based on the east coast, Scott Tillman, and another investor was not disclosed….

Johnson said the investment group wouldn’t rush into developing the site, and any major effort could be a decade away or more. It could also sell off pieces of the massive property.

“There probably will be other persons who are interested in purchasing or doing other developments on a portion of this,” Johnson said. “We don’t need to do it all ourselves.”

Out of the 22 acres, an MLB ballpark could be built on 10 of those acres; Target Field sites on a little over eight acres of land. But the Portland Diamond Project has unveiled a plan that includes apartments as well as a ballpark, so it remains to be seen whether a deal is possible for the Vaughn Street Park site.

While Portland has been mentioned off and on over the years as a possible home for an MLB club, it remains to be seen how the city would land a team. Expansion is unlikely to be seriously discussed by the MLB until the ballpark searches of the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays are settled, and both teams are working to build new facilities in their current markets. It is possible that one of or both of those teams will come up short in their current locales, but for now it does not seem that either team is in the mix for a relocation.

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