Top Menu

Hops press Oregon Legislature for new-ballpark funding

If the Oregon Legislature does not approve $15 million in funding for a new Hillsboro Hops ballpark by a March 15 deadline, the team may be forced to leave in the face of MiLB’s facility standards.

Ron Tonkin Field, the team’s current home, does not meet the new facility standards imposed when MLB took over Minor League Baseball. To meet the new standards–larger clubhouses, new training and nutrition spaces, covered batting cages, dedicated womens’ changing space–at Ron Tonkin Field would cost almost as much as a new ballpark, so the Hops ownership decided to go that route.

The Hops have secured a significant portion of the total $120 million needed for the new ballpark, including $82 million–68 percent of the total project cost–in private funds. A key part of the remaining budget needs is a potential $15 million commitment from the Oregon Legislature, expected to be considered during the state’s February 2024 legislative session, scheduled to conclude just days prior to the March 15 deadline. A $15 million investment is projected to yield a payback in five to six years within a 40-year lease period. 

Right now the team has the tentative approval of MLB, but the team has a deadline of March 15, 2024, to ensure the new ballpark is fully funded. If not, a move would come next, warns Hillsboro Hops President and General Manager K.L. Wombacher in statements to the local press:

“MLB wants the team here,” said Wombacher. “They don’t want to have to move the team or have the team go somewhere else or pull the license. They want the team here. They’re going to be as flexible as they can, but we were supposed to meet standards last year, and then we were supposed to meet them this year, and now, we’re supposed to meet them in 2025, so it just comes a point where they’ve got to say enough is enough.”…

“The state does have a lot of money. It’s not like this is going to be a major part of their budget. It’s going to be a very small part of their budget, but this has a payback,” said Wombacher. “Between the income taxes that the construction workers will play, plus the income taxes that our players and staff will pay, this has a payback in six years which means the other 34 years of the lease, this is incremental revenue to the state, so they’ll have more money to fund a lot of those other services.”

The next legislative session starts Feb. 5.

Rendering courtesy Hillsboro Hops.

RELATED STORIES: Deadline for new Hillsboro Hops ballpark financing pushed to next MarchEconomic impact of new Hillsboro Hops ballpark: $190 million; We’ll see a new Hillsboro Hops ballpark instead of Ron Tonkin Field upgradeMortenson, SRG, Populous to lead Hillsboro’s Ron Tonkin Field renovation; Hops pitch major Ron Tonkin Field upgrades

, , ,