City announces plans for Portland summer-league baseball team


IMG 3888BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Baseball is returning to Portland and city officials are hoping economic opportunity comes with it.

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BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
IMG 3891
 During a Rotary Club meeting today at the Sentinel Hotel, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announces
“baseball is returning to Portland.” Behind Hales is Rose City Baseball president and CEO Ken
Wilson and city commissioner Amanda Fritz, who is in charge of the city’s Parks and Recreation
Department.

Baseball is returning to Portland and city officials are hoping economic opportunity comes with it.

For 30 nights each summer — starting in 2016 — Walker Stadium in the Lents neighborhood will serve as the site of the Rose City Baseball team. 

“We’re finally seeing some real development in Lents,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said. “The team and stadium improvements will be great for the east Portland neighborhood. I’m an advocate for complete neighborhoods, and this plan will help Lents to shine.”

The team, which has not yet been named, will play in the Great West League — a baseball developmental league for players who want to play in a minor-league environment without forfeiting their amateur status.

Rose City Baseball will contribute $400,000 in improvements; the city will add $250,000, including $200,000 from the Portland Development Commission and another $50,000 from the Parks & Recreation budget. The planned upgrades include adding professional stadium-style seats, scoreboard and press box to the community park.

President and CEO Ken Wilson said he plans to run the concessions in house.

Mark Ross, of Portland Parks & Recreation, said the goal is for construction to start in July. A new grass field will be installed in September and the stadium will be ready by June 1, 2016. According to the group, the new Walker Stadium will be able to host 1,500.

“Baseball has been missed in Portland, and I am excited to have the game returning,” said Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I appreciate that this public/private partnership provides stadium improvements that all Portlanders can enjoy.”

Hales said Portlanders are enthusiastic about their teams and expects the same for the squad that will play at the site near SE Holgate and 92nd Avenue. Five years ago, plans to build the stadium up to 7,500 seats for $43 million failed due to lack of public support.

The new model is more palatable to neighbors: “It’s something that nobody seems to have any concerns about as it relates to parking and traffic congestion.” says Jesse Cornett, chairman of the Lents Neighborhood Association.

The city will maintain the park, which will be available to citizens who reserve it during the 330 days of the year Rose City Baseball isn’t using it. 

 




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