Portland Diamond Project, a group working to bring Major League Baseball to Portland, has withdrawn an $80 million offer to purchase the Portland Public Schools headquarters site for a new ballpark.
Portland Diamond Project is backed by a group that includes former Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) announcer Mike Barrett and retired Nike executive Craig Cheek. Seattle Seahawks quarterback and former Colorado Rockies farmhand Russell Wilson, along with his wife, the singer and entertainer Ciara, are also investing the effort.
As part of its ongoing push, the group has been linked to several properties for a prospective new ballpark–including the current site of the Portland Public Schools headquarters, located near the Trail Blazers’ Moda Center. Portland Diamond Project submitted an $80 million offer for the site in April, with the intention of redeveloping it as part of a ballpark project while offering to relocate school headquarters to another site. However, on Wednesday the group announced that it has withdrawn its offer. In its announcement, Portland Diamond Project indicated that it did not want to conflict with the vision of a group that is seeking to redevelop the area with a concept that includes affordable housing. More from The Oregonian/OregonLive:
“Although we were initially drawn to this property for its close-in location, access to transportation and its potential to be transformative to the east bank of the Willamette, it became apparent to us that the Albina Vision Trust’s board of directors has a long-range plan for the building and the immediate area that will serve the overall community in a very meaningful way,” Portland Diamond Project founder and CEO Craig Cheek said in a press release. “Albina Vision’s focus on diversity and social equity is aligned with our mission, and we are putting our full support behind it.”
The Albina Vision Trust is made up of investors, architects, artists, developers who want to transform the area into a vibrant space with affordable housing. Leaders with Albina Vision Trust had said a baseball stadium would derail those plans.
“We aren’t anti-baseball,” Rukaiyah Adams, a leader with Albina Vision Trust, told The Oregonian/OregonLive in August. “Baseball may come and go, but Portlanders are going to stay here.”
In Wednesday’s announcement, Portland Diamond Project said that it “plans to make an announcement regarding optioning properties for a ballpark within Portland’s city limits in a few weeks.”
The ongoing effort has certainly increased the profile of Portland, which has long been speculated as a potential MLB home. However, the city’s path to a team remains uncertain. Expansion is unlikely to be seriously discussed by the league 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. The Los Angeles Angels recently raised questions about their future by opting out of their Angel Stadium lease, but there are no signs at this point that the team will look anywhere beyond the greater Los Angeles area for a long-term ballpark solution.
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