Saturday, August 28, 2004

Baseball stadium plan has new ideas

The finished bid for a major league team, any team, has some new numbers and a proposed wrecking ball for PGE Park
By JOHN HUNT
The Oregonian
Friday, August 27, 2004

After 18 months of calculations and negotiations, Portland unveiled its finished major league baseball stadium finance plan, calling it "a good starting point."

Portland Mayor Vera Katz, Oregon Stadium Campaign leader David Kahn and city officials held a news conference Thursday at the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, where they stressed two familiar themes: A stadium would mean no new taxes or loss of city services, and the goal is to attract any team, not just the Montreal Expos.

They also stressed two new ones: PGE Park could be torn down if a major league ballpark is built, and a prospective owner has expressed an interest in owning a major league team in Portland.

"Are there people who have evinced an interest in owning a team in Portland, Oregon, and have the wherewithal to do it? Of course there are," said Kahn, who would not elaborate or say whether any of those people were owners of existing franchises.

Portland is trying to position itself as a better alternative than Las Vegas for future relocation. Major League Baseball officials are holding serious talks with representatives from Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia in hopes of finding a home for the league-owned Expos. If the Washington area gets the Expos, that would leave only Portland, Las Vegas and possibly Monterrey, Mexico, on the relocation map -- for now.

And if the owners of, say, the Oakland Athletics, Florida Marlins or Minnesota Twins look for greener grass in Portland, they now will have a full-color, 91-page document to review.

"They will pay attention to us," Katz said. "We have laid the foundation for the next steps. What will get us there is this document."

Read the entire article here on the Oregonian website.