The Hillsboro Hops and the City of Hillsboro, Oregon, are in a real pickle. The Hops and the City must solve MLB-mandated upgrades to the existing Ron Tonkin Field or build a new stadium by the end of 2026. At the same time, Major League Baseball is planning to expand at least two more teams, and Portland, Oregon, is at the top of expansion cities. The MLB expansion would bring 8 Billion dollars a year to the league, which is growing its fan base for the first time in decades. That would mean an extra $133 Million a year for every team in the Major League. Top analyst Chris Branch of The Athletic predicts that Portland and Nashville are the most likely cities in the US to land a team. In his article, he touches on this:
If those behind PDP had harbored any initial concerns about fan interest — they swear they didn’t — those abated when the project went public, and vanished once Wilson and Ciara were on board. “It wasn’t mission accomplished,” Barrett (Mike Barrett, former Portland Trailblazers’ broadcaster) said, “but, to a certain degree, getting on the map was. Everybody knew us by then.” Barrett and Cheek got emails from strangers asking if they could put down season ticket deposits.
Russel Wilson and his celebrity wife Ciara are investing, and many other big names have recently joined the effort. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is pitching hard the idea that Lloyd Center, the failing inner-city mall, could become a classic MLB field with views of Downtown Portland and billions in real estate development and housing surrounding it. This effort has been going on for years but suddenly seems more of a potential reality. Watch this story with an analysis by sports guru John Canzano who believes this could happen.
Catch our Stories that thousands have read covering the Hillsboro Hops-
Why should we care in Hillsboro?
In the middle of this pressurized push by our City to build a $150 Million baseball facility, this is a problem. If Major League Baseball picks Portland, the Hillsboro Hops will be forced to leave as per league rules, and an MLB team would destroy attendance. This situation has created the ultimate pickle, with the Hops & City caught between 3rd base and home plate. MLB is mandating field upgrades, forcing a highly controversial situation here in Hillsboro. The tens of millions of tax giveaways the citizens must pay and the loss of 3 baseball and softball diamonds has created an uproar. The Hops organization now needs to raise $100 Million in capital to meet the league’s deadline. How will investors or equity partners feel comfortable going deep into their pockets with the Portland MLB potential hanging over them? Investing in the Hops or Hillsboro makes no sense until this Portland MLB decision is made.
People with money have a habit of wanting to keep it- so as Portland’s chances rise, Hillsboro becomes a minefield of risk. The people of Hillsboro are not supporting a new stadium for rock concerts; those on board are only doing it to save our baseball team. What happens next? Well, the City of Hillsboro is acting as an applicant or developer and coming in to ask itself if it can put in the new stadium. Conflict of interest much?
NEXT UP- Beyond the Fundamental Problems With The Deal-
- 7-19-2023 – The Planning and Zoning Hearings Board will hear an application from the City of Hillsboro to approve a 7,000-seat baseball and concert facility. https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/114513/20
- Ex A CU Application – click to review the application
- The City of Hillsboro is still working to determine where the loss of fields 4,5 and 6 can be made up. Some plans have been presented, but there is no proposal yet for who will pay for this. Here are two options they presented to the Parks Commission on June 27th, 2023.
The fields added to the Gordon Faber Complex (shown above) would require building in wetlands and near powerlines. While it could work, it seems such a tight fit in marginal land that it is undesirable.
As seen above, the much-ballyhooed R. A. Brown Middle School option adds two new fields. But 167 parking stalls will not support enough people even to play a typical Little League game. The location along Cornelius Pass is also at a horrible traffic location where backups occur already.
Major Issues And Errors In The City Of Hillsboro’s Proposal-
As this land use process continues, anyone with input can get involved. One person can appeal or contest this proposal- the right guaranteed to us by the great Governor Tom McCall and the land use system he championed. Anyone can submit testimony to the City. I will post the Public Notice when I get it. This case file is CU-003-23 and that should be referenced in any submissions.
- Here is the Land Use Submission- read this, and you can comment as needed. Application 6.9.23
- Review The Plans Here – Plans 6.9.23
In the opening letter of the application above, SRG Consulting makes statements for the City that are troublesome and simply untrue. They claim that a new 7,000-seat Stadium placed on the Gordon Faber Recreational complex will not increase noise or transportation issues. See the letter below, and if you believe that statement, I have some Ocean Front property in Hillsboro to sell you.
We will continue to follow this story. It has so many moving parts and is very interesting at the very least.