Proposed Major League Baseball franchises in Portland, Oregon

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Under two proposals in the 2000s, if any Major League Baseball franchises relocated to Portland, Oregon, they would have played at PGE Park on an interim basis.

Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises have been proposed in Portland, Oregon on two different occasions. The Oregon Stadium Campaign and the City of Portland were involved in creating a presentation for a committee in charge of relocating the Montreal Expos in 2003. The proposal included possible sites for new baseball parks. In the midst of the campaign for the Expos, the Oregon State Legislature passed a bill that secured US$150 million in funds for a new stadium, that can still be used. The proposal was passed up and Washington, D.C. was selected as the new home of the Expos. In 2007, the Florida Marlins considered re-locating to Portland. On both occasions, PGE Park, the minor league baseball park at the time, would have been used until a new stadium could be completed. Currently, the Portland metropolitan area is the largest metro area in the United States that houses another major league sports franchise (the Portland Timbers and the Portland Trail Blazers) without having an MLB franchise.

Proposed teams[edit]

Montreal Expos relocation (2002–2003)[edit]

After MLB made it official the Montreal Expos were going to be relocated, Portland was named as a potential candidate.[1] Then-Portland Mayor Vera Katz and other officials went to New York City to address the committee that was in charge of the Expos relocation.[2] In 2003, the Oregon State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5, which provided US$150 million towards a new stadium.[2] If the Expos did move to Portland, under the proposal set forth by the then-mayor would use PGE Park as the team's temporary stadium.[2] The Expos were eventually awarded to Washington, D.C. and now play as the Washington Nationals.

Florida Marlins possible relocation (2006–2007)[edit]

In 2006, there was question of whether or not the Florida Marlins would be able to secure the funds for a new stadium.[3] This opened a proposal for the Marlins to be relocated to Portland.[3] Former professional baseball player Johnny Pesky, who is a Portland native, expressed his desire to see an MLB franchise in his home town stating, "Why shouldn't Portland have a club? I think they should get a shot. I think Portland will have a team in three or four years."[3] The proposed plan would use the funds secured from Senate Bill 5 to build a new stadium. While it was being built, the team would play in PGE Park, which would be expanded into a 25,000 seat facility as a quick fix.[3] On January 6, 2006, Marlins officials visited Portland as a possible re-location site.[4] The officials included team president David Samson, vice chairman Joel Mael and Claude Delorme.[4] Six other cities were possible re-locations sites along with Portland.[4]

Portland Diamond Project (2017–)[edit]

In 2017, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that an ownership group led by retired Nike vice president Craig Cheek and former Portland Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett are working to secure financing for a stadium and bring Major League Baseball to Portland.[5] On April 17, 2018, the potential ownership group, Portland Diamond Project, submitted formal proposals to purchase one of two potential stadium sites close to downtown Portland. One site was Portland Public Schools' headquarters, located north of the Moda Center, and the other location is an industrial site in Northwest Portland[6] However, on November 7, 2018, the offer for the PPS site was formally retracted by the Portland Diamond Project.[7]

On June 1, 2018 it was announced that Seattle Seahawks QB and former Colorado Rockies farmhand Russell Wilson is investing in the Portland Diamond Project, along with his wife, the singer and entertainer Ciara.[8]

Portland Ballpark[edit]

On November 29, 2018, the Portland Diamond Project announced that it had reached an agreement to build a baseball park on the 45-acre Terminal 2 of the Port of Portland in the Northwest Industrial neighborhood of the city.[9][10] The park, designed by Populous in partnership with TVA Architects, will be located on the Willamette River.[11] It will have a capacity of 32,000 to 34,000 and will include a retractable roof as well as a gondola lift suite.[12] Construction is estimated to cost around $1 billion and efforts to get a Major League Baseball team to occupy it could cost the same.[9][10] The park is projected to open in 2022.[12]

Involved organizations[edit]

Three groups, the Oregon Sports Authority, the Portland Baseball Group and Oregon Baseball Campaign, came together for an organization known as the Oregon Stadium Campaign (OSC) to advance the hopes of location an MLB team in Portland.[13]

Market[edit]

ESPN.com reported that the Portland metropolitan area was a bigger location than the ones that house the Cincinnati Reds, the Kansas City Royals and the Milwaukee Brewers.[3] Portland is the largest market in the United States and the second largest in North America that houses a major league sports team (the Portland Timbers and the Portland Trail Blazers) without an MLB team.[14] While the Oregon Sports Authority acknowledged in their official proposal that there may be bigger markets with more corporate support, they touted Portland's natural beauty, livability, metropolitan growth rate and television ratings as reason to award Portland with a team.[15]

Public opinion[edit]

The Oregon Sports Authority cited a poll taken by Grove Insight in March 2003 in their official proposal that stated that over half of Oregon residents claimed that they would attend an MLB game each season.[15] Furthermore, the poll also stated that 60 percent of Multnomah County residents would be "likely" to attend a game and 41 percent would be "very likely".[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goddard, Lisa (May 9, 2003). "D.C. looking to land Expos". Associated Press. Kentucky New Era. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Killen, John (August 31, 2009). "Major League Baseball in Portland? Some still have hope". OregonLive.com. The Oregonian. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e Rogers, Phil (January 12, 2007). "Relocating a team to Portland makes sense". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Frisaro, Joe (January 6, 2006). "Marlins officials to visit Portland". MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  5. ^ Blue, Molly (October 17, 2017). "Portland has ownership group in place for MLB team, looking to fast-track baseball to Oregon". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  6. ^ Friedman, Gordon R. (April 17, 2018). "Major League Baseball backers offer to buy two close-in Portland sites for stadium". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  7. ^ News, KATU. "Portland Diamond Project rescinds offer on PPS property as possible MLB stadium site". KATU. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Dubin, Jared (June 1, 2018). "Seahawks' Russell Wilson, Ciara invest in effort to bring MLB to Portland". CBS Sports. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Njus, Elliot (November 29, 2018). "Portland Diamond Project has agreement for ballpark at NW Portland marine terminal (renderings)". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Bell, Jon; Siemers, Erik (November 29, 2018). "Portland Diamond Project strikes deal to develop riverfront stadium at port terminal (Renderings)". Portland Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  11. ^ Brown, Maury (November 29, 2018). "MLB To Portland Has Agreement In Principle For Ballpark Land On River Near Downtown". Forbes. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Cowley, Jared; Tierney, John (November 30, 2018). "Portland Diamond Project announces plan to build MLB stadium at Terminal 2 site". KGW 8. NBC. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  13. ^ "About the Oregon Stadium Campaign". Oregon Stadium Campaign. Oregon Stadium Campaign. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  14. ^ Streit, Al. "Baseball Markets by Al Streit". Baseball Almanac. Baseball Almanac. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c "The Portland Market" (PDF). Oregon Stadium Campaign. Oregon Stadium Campaign. Retrieved September 14, 2010.