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Bob R.

"The Portland Beavers have been in the Pacific Coast League since 1903, just before the city started remodeling the Transit Mall"

1903?

Brian Libby

The Beavers really do date to 1903 here. I think the transit mall comment was just a joke.

Ron

You seemed like an OK dude Brian but then you had to go and admit to being a Yankee fan. Oh well...

dyob

I agree with your article. Although a fond part of Portland's history, the Beavers are a small town amenity. It makes perfect sense to me that the minor league team would shift to a small(er) town location, like Beaverton, while Portland graduates to a major league team, suitable stadium, and resultant tourism that will add to the future of Portland as a regional destination. For the record, I've not attended a Beavers game but have wanted to go just to experience PGE park. I hope the Schools property just north of the Rose Quarter can still be had for a major league site.

jeff

One correction: you stated the Portland area has over a million people (which is true) but the 2007 estimate for the Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is at 2.1 million, the 23rd largest in the U.S.

I am a baseball fan living in the Seattle area. I would not attend a minor league baseball game in Portland, except maybe if I was invited to meet up with people. I don't follow minor league sports.

However I will make special trips to Portland to watch a Trailblazer game or head to Reser and Autzen Stadiums for college football. An example of out-of-state money deposited into the Oregon economy.

Whatever site is ultimately selected for the new minor league ballpark needs to consider future expansion. Now is not the time to shoe-horn a stadium on too small of a site in a rush to get something built.

Portland needs to set it's sights higher within the professional sports spectrum being the 23rd largest market in the country.

anon

JETER!

Edgar

Shea Stadium in NYC has been replaced recently by Citi Field. Not impressive architecturally. Ditto new Yankee Stadium. They both look po-mo corporate fake-old.

Brian2

Correction on population. The 2008 population estimate for the City of Portland is 575,931... well below one million residents.

The 2008 estimate for the Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton MSA is 2,191,785.

Both numbers come from the 2008 Oregon Population Report put our earlier this year by PSU's Population Research Center.

http://www.pdx.edu/sites/www.pdx.edu.prc/files/media_assets/PopRpt08c2.pdf

D.J.

I think part of the reason has to do with the fact that there are no MLB teams whose owners have expressed an interest in moving to Portland. (I heard about hints from the A's, but the owner didn't seem all that serious)

Part of the reason for Portlanders being so interested in moving the Beavers to the location of the Memorial Coliseum was that the area was big enough for the ballpark to be expanded to MLB size if/when Portland was able to secure a team.

Unfortunately, a select few people protested that - they were more interested in saving a little-used, run-down building than thinking about Portland's future. It's too bad...

Brian Libby

One correction, DJ: The Memorial Coliseum/Rose Quarter site was not big enough for expanding the stadium to Major League size.

Walter

I've been sitting on the fence for what baseball might mean to the Rose Quarter-- but I think I can agree that Portland is a major league town. As such, if we are going to put a new beaseball stadium in our urban core it should be a major league stadium! Beaverton, on the other hand-- if it can find the right place to put the stadium-- would be a great place for a AAA club. I grew up in Beaverton, and see that a sports team of its own could give residents there something to rally behind. Oddly, my Beaverton pride (there must be such a thing!) would have me more likely to go to AAA games in Beaverton than Portland.

Eric Cantona

building a AAA stadium in Beaverton would be the equivalent of MLB hari-kiri.

nuovorecord

Glad to hear you're a fellow Yankees fan, Brian. I knew I liked you for a reason!

I get to 6-8 Bevos games a year, but not from any undying love for them. I love watching baseball and this is all we have. But I'd much rather watch MLB live than AAA. I drove up to Seattle for Saturday night's game with the Yankees and the place was packed (44,272 announced att.) Before and after the game, the area around Safeco was crawling with fans, going to the bars and restaurants, shopping, basically just having a good time.

But that's MLB, not AAA. I don't think a minor league team is ever going to create much of a buzz in this metro area, even with a new stadium and a spiffy entertainment area surrounding it. You're right, we've outgrown the Bevos. I'm fine with them moving to Beaverton if that indeed happens as long as I can get their by light rail.

Thanks too, for your efforts in helping to preserve the Coliseum!

Ken Bauer

Excellent comments nuovo. If Portland made a serious drive toward getting the A's by offering a new stadium, i guarrenty the people of the Portland Metro area would go bonkers and support the team like no other. By the way, Coors Field here in Denver, built in an blighted part of town, totally made the area from a place to stay away from to a local and regional destination. The Lower Downtown area of Denver rocks with nightclubs, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The same thing could happen there in Portland. And as a Portland Native who got tired of all the "We Can't' attitudes, i would love that to happen.

PMC

Great comments...one thing to point out is that i would suspect the Mariner organization would do what it could to fight a team here in Portland. The primary reason was explained in the first couple paragraphs. They are the only team within what, 12 hour drive, anyone interested in MLB in the NW goes to seattle. They have cornered the market. I think have heard that 20% or so of every game attendance is Portlanders.

Having stated that, i would LOVE a team, minor league is minor league, plain and simple. Portland is a Major League town. the old oregon stadium campaign website has a lot of information on the statistics from weather Portland is low on the rain during the season compared to many other cities, and is only the largest metropolitain area with only one professional sports team.

side note, hate the mariners, primarily because they are all we got

dennis

Well Brian, no one is perfect...nah, just kidding, I may hate the Yankees, but I dont care if someone supports them or not...though I have always felt the Mets were a more lovable team from NYC...even better if they still had the Brooklyn Dodgers.

PMC, I wouldnt worry too much about that, DC got the Nationals with Baltimore right down the road...that was a huge cut in their market. The Mariners would do just fine even if Portland had a MLB team.

I personally do go to Beavers games as much as I can because I do enjoy a good ballgame regardless if it is AAA or MLB or AA or even Single A. But I do agree, it is well past time for Portland to move up to the Majors, the AAA Beavers are too small for this city and would be more fitting in a smaller market where they could have a larger market.

Personally I still dont care if the MC is ever torn down, and this is coming from an architecture student...if it was something designed by Pier Nervi, then it would be a different conversation, but it is not...but I was against the idea of putting a ballpark there if it could not become a MLB park because any investment that cannot be expanded to the majors is a waste of money.

I think if Leonard was really serious about keeping baseball in Portland, which I question if he ever really was, he would be pushing for the city and state to pursue a MLB team or even try working with MLB in trying to convince them to expand the AL, which is 2 teams shy of the NL.

Again though, being a baseball fan, I really wish someone in the city council would actually try and look for something bigger than what we already have, their current choices with these just seem to be a waste of time.

ws

The mere idea of 35,000-50,000 swooping into and out of Portland for a ball game isn't a pleasant thought to me. The Rose Garden doesn't have near that seating capacity at 20,000. Retaining an areas livability as affected by a MLB crowd will be a challenge.

I like the idea that there's people that enjoy watching a bunch of other people play a simple ball game. Raving about MLB, nobody above has spelled out why they find MLB to be so much more appealing than AAA. If it were just that major league players were better at the game, I'd say, sure, go for it. I don't think it is though. It's the money of MLB that's the appeal. The players are bigger, granted, they do have more talent than most of the AAA guys, probably work harder because they're getting the money. Too much money.

In either case, it's still just a game. Supposed to be...a laid back game compared to other big time sports. Easier to keep it that way when a huge crowd of people isn't required to keep the team afloat.

Cost of a MLB stadium is a stunner too: $517 million for Safeco. RG was comparatively cheap at around $200 million.

AAA out in Beaverton? So far discussion about that have been reported are so ridiculous, I'm not convinced it's anything more serious at this point, than a ploy to put pressure on Portland to keep the Beavers. At 48 million for a new AAA stadium, that's a steal for a big league town like Portland.

DBM

If Portland isn't a major league city today, it will be someday, so plan, plan, plan, to prevent what has just happened.

I believe major sports need to pay their own way until everyone is able to afford a ticket to see a game.

I also believe many sports and sports fans do not exhibit the values we want our society to emulate. However, baseball is much better than football or basketball. In most cases referees and umpires play too great a roll in determining game outcomes.

If we must have professional sports they should be owned by the public in a manner similar to the Green Bay Packers. And, again, the shareholders need to foot the full bill for their addiction.

We should be giving more attention to amateur sports especially high school athletics. They are usually more dynamic and interesting than the pros.

billb

great post Brian , we are a major league city , and will support MLB [even if it is american league...] when we will not go to AAA. The difference in baseball quality is huge between AAA and the Bigs.
The PPS site is great for a big time ballpark , add some parking garages [which helps the Blazer fans] , and turn Broadway into a festival street [if your are listening Mr Allen]. Give the Schools a ton of cash for their land , score major karma , and get it off the taxes.
HMM , Portland A's , YESS!!

john t

I love Portland partly because of what it DOESN'T have:

No major military bases
No Fortune-500 corporate headquarters (unless you count Nike, out in Washington County)
Only one major-leage sports franchise

What these three things (military, large corporations, and major-league sports) have in common is a pernicious tendency to dumb down a city's culture with greed, hero-worship, and authoritarian values.

One major league team in Portland is enough. Let's not sacrifice our city on the altar of big-name entertainment.

chris

I was at the Mariners/Yankees game on Saturday as well with a party of 8 from Portland all spending money in Seattle. Walking through the industrial parts of Seattle to get to Safeco reminded me just how much bigger Seattle is than Portland. However, I was also optimistic that pro-baseball may one day come to Portland, hopefully because Portlanders are willing to buy into it (via shares) as opposed to bond measures.

dennis

ws, I am just guessing here, but I would figure that Portland's MLB ballpark would be more like PNC in Pittsburgh which would have a price tag under 300mil...sure that is just splitting hairs over too much money, but just saying.

john t, actually we will soon have 2 pro teams.

Also when it comes to the comparison to AAA and MLB, no one really pays attention to AAA records and barely pays attention to player names, it is more just a family activity thing to do within the city. MLB is more about the record and the players and it is something that brings in people from within and outside of the city.

eric cantona

"no one really pays attention to AAA records and barely pays attention to player names"

precisely. once a player achieves a reasonable level of competency at the AAA level they'll eventually move up to the Big Show. there is really no "team" to follow in the minors. unless you're an over-the-top Padres fan(atic), that is.

Jeff

When I was growing up in the Portland area I could name starting lineups for the Cincinnati Reds, L.A. Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, etc. and could cite certain player's statistics. Fans will follow certain teams/players with respect to their records, batting average, ERA, possible trades, etc.

While visiting Boston and New York on vacation as a teen during the off-season, just being able to see Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium was a "must-see" for a young teenager.

Meanwhile, back in Oregon, I may have gone to 2 or 3 Beaver baseball games in my entire childhood. I couldn't name many of the players (unless I knew them from the Major's and they were sent down to AAA). There just isn't that much interest.

Attending a minor league baseball is a nice family activity - but should not be compared to following Major League Baseball. It would be akin to comparing the Trailblazers vs. a D-League team.

Dennis is correct - Safeco Field had a very high cost with a lot of the dollars attributed to the retractable roof. A nicely designed, boutique-sized ballpark of 35,000, similar to the one in Pittsburg, would be a nice fit along the banks of the Willamette with a nice Portland skyline view in the distance.

ws

According to wikipedia article: PNC Park Pittsburg: capacity..38,496 cost..$216 million. Picture on that website show quite an extraordinarily beautiful park with a great cityscape view. Obviously very appealing, but it would be a challenge for any city to meet or top that.

In Portland, could a park having that seating capacity, make money? Got to find the person or persons that can say 'yes' to that question.

Kind of seems like it would make sense for a Portland MLB park to have a retractable roof..except for cost.

Mudd

The PPS site can accommodate a 45,000 seat facility and still have some openness to the city for views. From an urban design perspective, the best orientation for the park at that location would be to run the first base line parallel to Interstate Avenue and to open up the outfield to Broadway, similar to the park in San Francisco (lost the name somehow...embarrassing...). A new max station could be under home plate (think of the lower elevation of Interstate Avenue in that area) and connected to the yellow line with a bunch of trains waiting for the last pitch. Again, from an urban design perspective, it would be best to not make it TOO easy for people to leave and go home instead of spending money in the district.

MLB would rather not have the sun in the batter's eye so they'd need to be on board with the orientation of the field. I believe that the orientation above would/could shield the afternoon/evening sun for a south facing batter. The MLB rules on orientation are not as strict, however, as some people would make you believe. If you have a proven study on the issues related to the batter's view, they're open to discussion.

Back to urban design for a moment, I think that the city would also need to step up and provide a better urban plan for the district. I'd hate to see the park come with an amusement park style of development around it. That would speak nothing of the character of our current city. Rather, dense mixed use development (including much housing) ought to be encouraged along with a good amount of business not reliant on baseball.

nuovorecord

Just for fun, here's a link to a page showing the geographical orientation of all current MLB stadia.

http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/general/facts/diamonds/index.htm

Ballparks are oriented in a variety of ways, but all have the outfield on the 0-180 degree side of a compass. So Mudd's suggestion above with regards to views would be about as good as it would get at the PPS site.

Siting the stadium around OMSI was an idea that was floated earlier. That area would seem to have a lot of upside, although the Marquam Bridge looming overhead would definitely be a buzzkill.

portland window cleaning

I agree that a minor league team just doesn't compare to the pros.

portland window cleaning

Garrett

A major league team would be great. Unfortunately there isn't the corporate support needed in Portland to have a MLB team. There is barely enough for a NBA team. There aren't enough independently wealthy individuals in town to buy a private box. That money stream is needed. MLB in PDX as PDX is now ain't gonna happen.

That's something people in PDX need to accept. If you don't like it...well...change it.

There is also the $400 million dollar + publically funded stadium issue. If you figure out how to convince voters its a good idea to drop that much (yes $400 million is a conservative estimate) on a stadium let me know. Plenty of people made enough fuss about a $31 million dollar renovation of PGE Park and I guarantee you people that look at potential MLB sites noticed what happened here. In fact, I know they did for a fact.

If you think Portland is in MLB's plans in the next 10 years you're kidding yourself. Also...PDX will never be an AL team. The Mariners ownership would scream bloody murder about that. If it happens they'll be NL. The Giants will cry a lonely tear about it.

Marc Hull

Um, no way in anyone's lifetime would this city agree to assist in the finance of a major league ball park. Would there be more interest in MLB than MiLB, absolutely. But as soon as the locations for the stadium were disclosed and the numbers started to be crunched, the NIMBYs would be out in force. Unfortunately, public/private deals are required to construct the type of facility necessary for MLB. There will never be that sort of support here.

ws

The money is a big deal. Portland seems to feel that $400 million for MLB is too great a burden to bear for the possible return on the money. Beaverton's a small city by comparison. $48 million is a lot of money for this city to be thinking about spending, especially when it only brings minor league baseball to town.

It's going to be exciting to watch how Paulson's deal with Portland to put MLS in Civic Stadium/PGE park pans out. Paulson just might want to keep the Beavers in Portland somewhere in case it doesn't. For $48 million, it might only be minor league, but for a big city like Portland, that's a pretty good price for at least being able to say it has something that tries to approach some of the mystique of MLB.

Jeremy Wright

Brian,

Please come back to reality.

First and foremost the corporate economic base to support a MLB team simply doesn't exist here. It isn't about fans but about those suites and sponsorships and they simply don't exist in PDX.

Secondly, did you see the insane freak out for TWO stadiums for a total of $65 million in taxpayer back bonds this past year? Can you imagine the Portland riots if someone proposed $500 million in bonds it cost to build Safeco. Snowballs chance in hell.

Thirdly, I have no interest in a MLB team until they change their revenue sharing structure. What we would have here as a small market MLB team is the equivalent of a really good Triple AAA team and be out of the pennant race by May every year. 70% of the games from there on out would be empty except when the Yankees and Sox came to town.

Fourth, find me a billionaire willing to buy a team and move them to PDX. Please.

Brian Libby

Jeremy,

Glad to hear from you. Always good to have the city's big Timbers/Beavers zealot on board.

You're probably right that the economic/corporate base for an MLB team doesn't exist here. I don't need to "come back to reality", as you suggest, because I was cognizant of these conditions all along.

My point was that most people, even among sports fans -- even among BASEBALL fans -- don't care at all about minor league baseball. You may be correct that revenue sharing issues make MLB an unfair contest between large and small market teams. In fact, you're absolutely correct. But that doesn't change the fact that if I attend a baseball game, I want to see Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki, not Dirk Jensen and Ochiri Yamaha.

Again, this isn't supposed to be about whether Portland can make MLB happen any time soon. I doubt the city can. But just because we can't attract MLB doesn't make AAA baseball interesting.

If I have the choice between a Martin Scorsese film that I have to wait for, and a Chris Columbus film I can see anytime, I'm going to wait it out for Scorsese.

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