This AM, I come to you, our readers, and the people of Hillsboro to report to you about the special deal that is moving quickly ahead for the Hillsboro Hop’s new stadium. On April 18th, we wrote the story http://hillsboroherald.com/hillsboro-hops-controversy-puts-city-council-lack-of-public-input-in-cross-hairs/ . This story covered the fact that our City Council moved to quickly approve a $150,000,000 stadium project without the approval or input of the Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Commission. This was unprecedented in our City and should never have happened. Yet it has.
The Herald sent the City of Hillsboro, through the Public Information department, a set of questions that we came up with; many of these were sent to us by our readers. Those questions were sent in 15 days ago. Not one of them has been answered. We have checked in on these questions twice and we have offered to come to City Hall and meet with members of the Economic Development team to save time and energy.
Here is the response we received from the City:
“…we will respond if/when we are able.”
So here we are. No information. The City Council, led by Mayor Callaway, decided in an Executive Session closed to everyone to give the Hillsboro Hops $18,000,000 and to loan them another $18,000,000. They also decided to rip out 3 of the best baseball and softball fields in the City. All of those things decided in a short period of time, no transparency, no debate, no input from the Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Commission.
And now no answers to questions.
So let me share the questions with all of you- just to be clear on the record. Here are the questions we sent and you decide if these questions should be answered and if you feel the same way. We are officially not a Media source, according to the City. Interesting that we are treated like one. But we will not relent until we get answers to these questions.
Happy Tuesday, Hillsboro-
From: Dirk Knudsen <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 12:05 AM
To: Amber Ames <Amber.Ames@hillsboro-oregon.gov>; Aubrey Minear <Aubrey.Minear@hillsboro-oregon.gov>; Patrick Preston <Patrick.Preston@hillsboro-oregon.gov>
Subject: Records Request and Questions Regarding The Gordon Faber & New Approved Hops Stadium
The Hillsboro Herald is requesting official responses to the following questions:
1) On March 7rh, 2023, and in press releases, the staff made statements that “The new ballpark is estimated to cost $120,000,000.”
I believe in section 8.1 –
- A) Considerations in that number for inflation during the time frame this project will take?
- B) Did that Number include the Millions it will take to replace lost Fields 4, 5, and 6?
- C) Who is responsible for determining what those costs are, and were those costs not presented as a project cost when that cost is in fact only being incurred as a result of this new project?
2) In the March 7th (City) Staff Report, the following was presented:
” Due to a highly compressed design and construction schedule and the availability of and long lead times for materials, it is necessary for some procurement and earthwork to occur prior to GMP. Staff will not utilize the early procurement and early construction allowances unless funding for the entire project has been secured by the Hops and confirmed by the City Manager.” Is this statement saying that NO GRADING will begin until the Hops have confirmed the 100 Million plus Dollars they need to finish the project?
3) In the Staff Report, we found the 2nd Agreement Between the Owner and Design-Builder (4662)- In that agreement, we see section 3, which states the following:
It appears that the Owner, which in this case is the City of Hillsboro, will have $3,959,359 out of pocket and at risk with no assurance that the Hillsboro Hops are capable of building the stadium being contemplated. Also, this section indicated that grading work of $2,500,000 is going to start early. This must be the removal of the ball fields 4, 5, 6 ?
- A) Will the City be repaid by the Hillsboro Hops for the items in 3.1 to 3.5 if they pull out or are unable to complete the project?
- B) Will Fields 4,5,6 be torn out this year before the project is agreed to in writing and the Hillsboro Hops have funded it?
- C) If we remove those fields, and the Hillsboro Hops do not build, Then what?
4) Section 5 outlines early procurement as follows:
- A) Will the City be able to be reimbursed for all of these items if the Hillsboro Hops are unable to fund this project? Is there a provision for inflation on these items, or could this budget easily go over?
In the Staff Report from March 7th, 2023, Item 8.2 the Staff Made the following Statement-
“The City plans to contribute $18 million to the project using Transient Lodging Taxes. New or increased TLT’s enacted are required to use at least 70% of the net revenue to fund tourism promotion or tourism related facilities. Staff will be in front of the City Council at a later date with an authorizing resolution to issue debt up to the $18 million. The Hops are also actively seeking their funding for the project, including private financing and state funds. The total project is estimated not to exceed $120 million.”
5) When will Staff come before the Council asking for $18 Million dollars, in addition to the TLT?
6) Will the Hillsboro Hops funding they are seeking create a lien on the City Land? That type of debt generally requires a lien and security on the real estate. Will the City allow any portion of the Gordon Faber to be liened or used as security for the Hillsboro Hops Organization’s loans?
7) How does the staff know the project will not exceed $120 Million Dollars? What happens if it does?
We found this financial statement online about the current status of the Bond outstanding on the Ron Tonkin Field.
It appears that the City still owes about $7.6 Million dollars in interest and principal on this financing package.
8) Who is servicing the debt on the Ron Tonkin? Is this bond current, and where are the funds coming from to pay the debt?
9) How much income has the Ron Tonkin Field and facility brought in over the past years? How does the city track that income?
10) How much does the Hillsboro Hops Organization pay for their annual lease or use of the Ron Tonkin Field and facility? Are they current on all of their annual leases? Paid in full?
In a presentation to the City, the Staff showed some slides- on of them was this:
11) What happens if the Hops do not land the $20-$25 Million they seek from the State of Oregon?
12) What happens if they do not obtain the $82,000,000 in debt financing?
13) What happens to the new Stadium if the Hillsboro Hops are sold and moved, cease operations, or go out of business for any reason?
14) Will the City of Hillsboro require a performance Bond assuring the people of Hillsboro that this stadium will get built? After all projects start and stop all the time. How will the City know they will not end up with a 1/2 finished stadium and no youth fields?
15) What financial controls will Hillsboro have in terms of the construction landmarks, payments of subcontractors, assurances against liens, etc?
16) A project of this size has massive impacts to storm water, light, traffic, sound into the community, and other important aspects. Are the Hillsboro Hops and or the City of Hillsboro conducting land use hearings on this matter so that affected parties in the community can have a chance to have their concerns heard? Certainly these impacts require land use procedures? Are there land use notices and procedures proceeding on this new project?
Public Document Request
Public Information -Documents Request:
- A signed Copy of the 2nd Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder (4662)
- A signed copy of the NEW BALLPARK COST ALLOCATION AGREEMENT
- We would like a copy of the licensing agreement and lease between the Hillsboro Hops Organization (Short Season, LLC et al) that exist as of right now, and a summary of the income the Hops have paid to the City and records showing if they are current on their current obligations with the City of Hillsboro.
Thank you very much- I am happy to interview or speak to someone by phone if that will get us through the informational questions quicker. Perhaps Justin or someone from EcDev? I am always available.
What has been the profit or losses of the Hillsboro Hops been over the years they have been in business?
What is the plan (or is there one) to improve the traffic from Hi-way 26 to the current site and is this included in the proposed plan?
Hillsboro Fire has a station just opposite to Ron Tonkin Field. What happens if there is a roll out before or just after the field is in use?
Tom- All great questions. These sort of questions usually rise up during a land use hearing, which the City should undoubtedly be subjected to. I have heard that my questions rang alarm bells at City Hall and that they will be doing a land use process. As of right now I can not get any answers as to that process or when it will be happening. I will post when I know and will advise you and others as to what response I am given.
Keep asking great questions and be involved!
I don’t even know what to say. Thank you very much for your service to our community!
This is the only town I have ever known. It is incumbent upon me to do what I can. We ask nothing more than an engaged and transparent City leadership. That will not change.
” We are officially not a Media source, according to the City.” See, if you were a “media source,” you’d cover the ribbon cuttings, take your freebies and shut your mouth. That’s the kind of “media source” the city and team have been used to dealing with until recently. Now you, Troy and Chuck aren’t playing ball. That makes them sad.
In today’s digital environment and the dynamics of the information space where anyone with a cell phone or a social media account can share information widely, the city is not in a position to determine who is or is not a reporter or journalist, and should not be deciding which outlets are or are not a “media source.” The mere fact that the Hillsboro Herald conducts itself as media and has a dedicated following should be enough that City public information officials and the city manager should be responsive to any questions the outlet asks. Yes, the City can decide how to treat different media and reporters (and, yes, there is a wide scale of reputable vs disreputable ones), but it should do so with great care and an understanding of the ramifications of such decisions/actions.
There is a public information meeting Monday, June 5. 6pm at the Main Branch of the Hillsboro Library on Brookwood. For more information: https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/our-city/hillsboro-major-projects/hillsboro-hops-ballpark-project