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On Tuesday, the city of Hillsboro, Oregon approved an offer for the Bears to relocate to the Portland suburb starting next season. The city is luring the team with a brand-new, publicly-funded $15.2 million stadium. Short Stop LLC, the company that owns the Bears, faces a June 29 deadline to decide where they'll play ball in the coming years.
Northwest League president Bob Richmond told the Yakima Herald that the league and minor-league baseball will approve the move to the city of 92,000, located about 30 miles west of Portland. More from the Herald:
County officials said they have had no substantive discussions with the team about improvements that would keep the team in Yakima. The team had complained the county-owned stadium did not meet minor-league standards.A sports franchise complaining about their stadium accommodations relative to the rest of the league, and city leaders indifferent to the impending departure? Are we sure Howard Schultz, Clay Bennett, David Stern, and Greg Nickels aren't involved in this somehow?
"The Yakima Bears clearly told us two years ago they didn't want to continue playing in Yakima County Stadium because of its deficiencies and the contract arrangement they were operating under," Commissioner Mike Leita said Wednesday. "That is when we stepped back. We felt if there was a genuine interest on their part, we could have worked with State Fair Park."
Yakima's loss is a major gain for both Portland and Hillsboro. Since the Triple-A Portland Beavers were sold in 2010, Portland has been the largest metro area in America without a pro baseball team. Hillsboro, meanwhile, projects that the new stadium and team will generate $7.1 million worth of annual revenue.
The Bears' first home game of the year is scheduled for June 20, so Yakima denizens and ex-pats, go see 'em while you still can.