Back in 2003, Oregon State Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) voted for a bill, Senate Bill 5, that would provide $150 million for building a Major League Baseball stadium in Portland.
But as WW first reported yesterday, she's now leading the effort to repeal that legislation, which is a central piece of the current effort to bring a MLB to Portland.
The original financing bill provided that taxes on baseball players and officials would go to financing the stadium, providing up to $150 million.
But City Club's Friday Forum today Burdick, who is now majority leader, explained that about-face from 15 years ago, by calling her earlier vote a "mistake."
"This was a mistaken vote I took back in 2003," Burdick said. "Now having served seven years as the Finance and Revenue chair, I see the issue differently."
"I see it as a nontransparent system that's a one-off," she added. "It would basically siphon off revenue that the voters should be able to decide 'do we want it to go to the stadium or do we want it to go to education?'"
The Portland Diamond Project, which is looking to bring bring a team to Portland, opposes the repeal bill. Officials with the Portland Diamond Project have said they'll need no other public subsidies besides that aid in building the stadium, though that claim has been met with skepticism.
Burdick, for her part, say she likes the idea of a Portland Major League Baseball team.
"It's certainly not opposing baseball," Burdick said. "I grew up as an adamant Portland Beavers fan, so it's certainly no statement about baseball. I think it would be really cool to have Major League Baseball in Portland. It's all about the funding mechanism."
She says she's called on backers of the effort to do a study of the economic impact and "stand in line with everyone else for a decision on bonding.
"Don't do this one-off system. I do not like it," she added.