Glum Portland Beavers fans today saw Portland City Council vote to turn PGE Park into a soccer (and football) only stadium, which means the century-plus old baseball team will join the ranks of the city's homeless after it plays the 2010 season.
But out in Washington County, Beaverton city officials —who made an unsuccessful run
at landing the Beavers last year— are exploring the possibility of using federal stimulus money to help pay for a new stadium.
Washington County does have Recovery Zone stimulus money available —$19.3 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds for use by the private and $12.4 million in Recovery Zone economic development bonds for use by the public sector—according to Washington County government affairs director Dennis Mulvihill.
Local officials, including state Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton), have inquired about using stimulus funds to help Beaverton land the Beavers. Mulvihill says the guidelines about what the money can be used for are "very flexible."
The problem for Beaver fans is there are many mouths to feed. Mulvihill says that when a panel of local officials divides up the money, they will have far more projects than they can fund.
"There is currently a list of $85 million worth of other projects that communities have proposed," Mulvihill says. "While there is an interest in baseball, other projects have more interest."
Greg Peden, who represents Beavers owner Merritt Paulson, says Paulson remains open to any viable option for keeping the Beavers local.