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Council unanimously votes to discontinue baseball project and focus efforts on developing Riverfront Park

City of Milwaukie Oregon Official Website

8/22/12: Councl unanimously voted to end the effort to bring pro baseball to Milwaukie and asked city staff to refocus its energies on developing Milwaukie Riverfront Park at its Aug. 21st meeting.

The vote brings a year-long effort to close. Milwaukie had been in negotiations with the Northwest League since January 2012 for a Single-A team from the Northwest League to play at a 4,000 seat stadium in the North Industrial Area. Analysis on that proposal projected a team from that league would bring $7.3 million to the City in the first year and up to $30 million a year in 30 years.

However, in July league officials decided to locate a team in Hillsboro and further negotiations broke off when league officials were unable to commit to bringing a team to Milwaukie by the City’s self-imposed deadline of July 31, 2012. At its Aug. 7th meeting Council directed staff to investigate the economic feasibility of a 2,000 seat park for a West Coast League team.

The aim was to have enough data on that proposal before making a decision on getting a funding measure on the November ballot before the State elections deadline of Aug. 23rd. Staff was unable to pull the numbers together in time and Council voted to discontinue the effort.

Efforts now turn to developing Milwaukie Riverfront Park, a project that includes an amphitheater, play structure, plaza, playground and reconstructed boat launch on the banks of the Willamette River across from Downtown.

8/8/12: Wanting to learn whether or not a smaller ballpark that would host a West Coast League team would make economic sense, City Council voted by a 3-2 margin at its Aug. 7th meeting to conduct a market feasability analysis before deciding to close the effort to bring pro baseball to town, or to put the idea before voters on the November ballot.

The Council directed city staff to study what kind of a return the City would realize if it were to build a 2,000-seat park in the $10 to $12 million range, down from the $25 million, 4,000-seat, single-A park that was previously studied.

To make the November ballot, those figures must be presented to the council by late August.

7/23/12: City Council is expected to decide whether or not to make the final push to bring minor league baseball to town at its Aug. 7th meeting.

7/23/12: City Council is expected to decide whether or not to make the final push to bring minor league baseball to town at its Aug. 7th meeting. The Council had set a July 31st deadline for securing a team commitment and working with property owners in the North Industrial Area, where the ballpark is being proposed. Staff will provide a progress report before Council takes action.

5/16/12: City Council voted unanimously to follow the unanimous Citizen Task Force recommendation to continue studying the baseball park project at its May 15th Council Meeting.

5/16/12: City Council voted unanimously to follow the unanimous Citizen Task Force recommendation to continue studying the baseball park project at its May 15th Council Meeting. Key to the passing of the resolution was amending its language to set a July 31, 2012 deadline to secure a commitment from a professional team to come to Milwaukie, and to have a deal in place for ODOT to vacate the proposed site. Council also gave strong direction to staff to continue working with property owners in the North Industrial area to minimize potential impacts.

5/7/12: City Council will decide whether or not to continue the effort to build a ballpark and bring minor league baseball to Milwaukie at its May 15th meeting. Should Council decide to proceed, the effort could culminate in a vote by Milwaukians in November for the public share of the financing. Staff report posted here.

5/7/12: City Council will decide whether or not to continue the effort to build a ballpark and bring minor league baseball to Milwaukie at its May 15th meeting.

Should Council decide to proceed, the effort could culminate in a vote by Milwaukians in November for the public share of the financing.

Determining exactly how much the public would be asked to pay would be determined in the next phase of work. On May 15th, at 7 p.m. in City Hall’s Council Chambers, Council will consider a staff presentation focusing on economic impacts, a conceptual facility design, and estimated project costs. Council will also consider guidance set forth by the citizen task force regarding field orientation, facility usage and a good neighbor agreement.

Should Council vote to move forward, other final phase work would include securing a commitment from a minor league team to lease the ballpark for twenty to thirty years.

4/13/12: Due to a scheduling conflict the final Task Force meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church.

4/13/12: Minutes from the April 5th meeting posted here.

4/6/12: The Task Force continued drafting a Good Neighbor Agreement for the facility and considered an economic impact analysis presentation focusing on attendence, revenue and job projections at its April 5 meeting.

4/5/12: Minutes from the March 22, 2012 meeting posted here.

3/23/12: The Task Force reviewed the preliminary economic impact analysis, presentation posted here, and continued its work on a facility "good neighbor agreement" at its March 22, 2012 meeting. The next Task Force meeting will be April 5, 2012.

3/1/12: Task Force discusses economic feasability study, other non baseball events the park could host, and market feasability at Feb. 23rd meeting. Minutes from second Task Force meeting posted here

2/24/12: At its second meeting on Feb. 23rd, the Citizen Baseball Stadium Task Force had a detailed discussion about what factors should go into the economic feasability study of a new baseball park. The task force reached broad agreement on many factors, including a strong desire for the City to hire a local firm.

The task force also reached consensus that a new ballpark should have a broad variety of non baseball events with a goal of having the ballpark used 150 - 160 dates a year. The task force agreed that concerts should be kept on the list, but will need to be a major part of the good neighbor agreement with the local neighbors.

J. Isaac, former Blazers executive, gave a detailed presentation on the opportunities for professional baseball to be successful in the Portland market. Isaac made the point that Portland is the largest market in the country without any professional baseball.

2/14/2012: The 13 members of the Milwaukie Baseball Citizen Task Force met for the first time on Febr. 9, 2012 at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

After meeting the group's moderator, former Oregon City Mayor Alice Norris, and reviewing the ground rules, the Task Force learned of their first important task - choosing the orientation of the new ballpark. To help them make this decision, the task force heard a detailed presentation from Anton Foss of 360 Architects on the three orientation options, and the pros and cons of each.

You can see Anton Foss' presentation in full here. Following Foss' presentation and a lengthy question and answer session, the task force overwhelmingly rated option three as their first choice, followed by option two. The Task Force requested that the Milwaukie City staff research the feasibility of option three and report back at the next meeting where a final decision on the orientation will be made, thus making the second task force meeting very important.

The next meeting of the Baseball Citizen Task Force will be Thursday, February 23rd from 7pm - 9pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church. In addition to making a final decision on orientation, the task force will also be making decisions about the multi use programming for the ballpark.

Members of the public are strongly encouraged to attend. There will be a public comment portion of the agenda taking place at approixmately 8 p.m.

The Task Force is comprised of Pepi Anderson, Angelene Carpenter Falconer, Jennifer Finn, John Fox, Mike Gits, Harry Hanna, Gary Hunt, Alan Keser, Joseph Mabe, Susan McCarty, Wilda Parks, Matt Rinker, and Daniel Senffer.

2/7/12: The first of six Minor League Baseball Task Force meetings will be held on Thurs., Feb. 9, 2012 at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 2036 SE Jefferson Street in downtown Milwaukie starting at 7 p.m.

City Council appointed 13 citizens to the Task Force, and appointed former Mayor of Oregon City Alice Norris as the task force facilitator, at its Feb. 7, 2012 Regulary Scheduled meeting.

The Task Force will make recommendations to the Council on the facility orientation and programming, the scope of an economic impact analysis, and terms of a good neighbor agreement.

The group is scheduled to meet every other Thursday evening through April. Meetings are open and members of the public will have the opportunity to ask questions or address comments to the committee. The Task Force recommendations will be presented to City Council on May 1, 2012, when the Council will vote on proceeding to the next phase of the study.

The Task Force is comprised of Pepi Anderson, Angelene Carpenter Falconer, Jennifer Finn, John Fox, Mike Gits, Harry Hanna, Gary Hunt, Alan Keser, Joseph Mabe, Susan McCarty, Wilda Parks, Matt Rinker, and Daniel Senffer.

2/1/12: The Bring it Back project took another positive step forward at the Jan. 31st Council Study Session where they reached consesus on some critical issues about the citizen task force.

The Mayor reported that the council received a lot of interest in serving on the task force, including several applications from residents who have never asked to be involved before.

In order to allow more applicants to serve on the task force they increased the number from 11 to 13. They also agreed that the council should over represent the Ardenwald neighborhood as well as representatives of the North Industrial area and downtown business, and NDA's.

The Mayor informed the council that his final task force appointees will be announced at the February 7th Council meeting.

1/18/12: As part of the second phase of work City Council directed staff to create a Citizen Task Force that will:

• Advise the Council on a preferred option related to the facility’s orientation

• Advise the Council on a preferred slate of facility (or site) uses that would complement the minor league baseball schedule and provide amenities for Milwaukie and the surrounding region

• Advise the Council on a scope of work and budget related to the Economic Impact Analysis

• Advise the Council on a Good Neighbor Agreement bullet point list that would ensure compatibility between the operation of the facility and surrounding industrial and residential neighbors.

The Task Force is expected to meet five to seven times in the months of February, March and April.

1/10/12: City Council directed staff to enter the next phase of work – which includes reaching out to teams of the Northwest League and developing a conceptual design for a ballpark – by a 3-2 vote at a special meeting on Jan. 9, 2012.

The first phase of work focused on community engagement and determining if the proposed ODOT site in the North Industrial Area could accommodate a Single A baseball stadium. After hearing presentations at the specially scheduled meeting from the City’s communications, architecture, and construction advisors, Councilors in favor of entering the next phase felt the project had enough merit and community interest to move forward.

“The first phase was a success,” Mayor Jeremy Ferguson said. “We have a viable location, and we’ve reached out to the community to learn its questions. I think it’s important we enter this next phase, get answers to those questions, and continue our conversations with the public.”

Phase II activities include:

• Continue the public outreach effort, with a focus on gathering and sharing answers to the community questions and concerns that were raised in Phase I.

• Create a citizen Task Force to help guide and inform the process.

• Move from site feasibility analysis to developing a conceptual design.

• Finalize a program of uses for the facility.

• Refine costs, and in turn, conduct a financial impact analysis.

• Begin formal negotiations with the Northwest League.

Staff will come back to City Council in April with a report on Phase II, and to seek further direction on whether or not to move forward with the project.

1/9/12: City Council to decide whether or not to move the baseball effort forward tonight. City Hall, 7 p.m., Public testimony is encouraged.

1/6/12: The meeting materials for the baseball meeting of Jan. 9, 2011 posted here.

12/21/11: Milwaukie City Council will decide whether or not to continue the effort of bringing professional baseball to town at a special meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, 2011 at 7 p.m. in City Hall’s Council Chambers.

12/22/11: The Historic Milwaukie and Hector Campbell Neighborhood Associations have canceled their January meetings so interested residents can attend the special City Council baseball meeting on Jan. 9th. The Island Station Neighborhood is bumping up their starting time that evening to 5:30 p.m.

12/21/11: Milwaukie City Council will decide whether or not to continue the effort of bringing professional baseball to town at a special meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, 2011 at 7 p.m. in City Hall’s Council Chambers. Council will consider public testimony and a presentation reporting the findings of the first phase of the communication effort and the results of a site feasibility analysis before making its decision.

The project has been broken into four phases to provide Council different intervals to move the effort forward, or to shut it down. The decision of Jan. 9, 2011 will be to enter the second phase of the project, which would focus on the programming, design, cost and economic impact of the multi-use facility.

“Building a stadium here in Milwaukie is an idea that creates a lot of reaction, and we’ve heard from a lot of people we haven’t heard from in the past,” Mayor Jeremy Ferguson explained. “Now’s the time to decide if we’re going to take the next step.”
The topic was originally to be taken up at the Dec. 20, 2011 Council Meeting, but Council thought it best to hold it until after the holidays. However, when Council appealed the light rail bridge application, the agendas for the regularly scheduled January meetings got crowded.

“We want to give this topic its due,” Ferguson said. “We need to have a meeting dedicated to baseball so we can make the right decision.”

12/19/11: The economist that conducted a market analysis of single A baseball in Vancouver, Washington will explain to Milwaukie City Council how he conducted the study and the type of information such an effort can yield at the Work Session set for Dec. 20, 2011, in the City Hall Conference Room. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. but this agenda item likely won't be heard untill about 6 p.m.

12/7/11: Interested residents have pointed to a number of studies looking at the economic effects baseball has on communities.
Here are links to the studies that have been discussed.

Update 11/21/11: Video of Third Listening Lounge posted here!

Milwaukie's City Council wants to bring professional baseball to Milwaukie and back to the Portland-Metro region.
Here are some important links:
Informational Brochure Posted Here.
Oregonian online poll
Project email address:

Update 11/18/11: The third Listening Lounge held at Linwood Elementary on Nov. 18th was the best attended of the series, with more than 70 people turning out to voice their opinions to all the City Councilors in attendance about the effort to bring pro baseball to Milwaukie.

Many of those in support of moving forward suggested bringing baseball to town would provide an economic engine that would help revitalize the city and help pay for other projects. Many of those not in favor thought the project was too costly, and was an unwise investment and allocation of city resources.

Update 11/10/11: Check The Oregonian's story here detailing the second Listening Lounge held at Milwaukie Elementary on Nov. 10th.

Update 11/9/11: Ask about logistics, pose questions and share comments with the architect and project manager exploring the feasibility of building a multi-use stadium in Milwaukie on Thurs., Nov. 10th, at Pietro's Pizza, at 6 p.m.

Update 11/10/11: More than 50 residents turned out for the second Listening Lounge at Milwaukie Elementary on Nov. 10th to pose questions to project consultants and to voice opinions about the baseball and multi-use stadium proposal.

Update 11/9/11: Ask about logistics, pose questions and share comments with the architect and project manager exploring the feasibility of building a multi-use stadium in Milwaukie. Thurs., Nov. 10th, Pietro's Pizza, 6 p.m. The professionals are in town doing some work on the stadium's feasability and will be at Pietro's for an informal meet and greet and information-sharing discussion. Please attend, invite those you think would be interested.

Update 11/3/11: Check the Oregonian's story on the preliminary sound and light study - take its online poll.

Update 11/1/11: City Council seeks feedback on baseball idea through new Facebook page
Milwaukie’s Mayor and City Council are hoping the newly created “Milwaukie Baseball Stadium Community Discussion” Facebook page provides people an easy and convenient way to share their thoughts about Council’s idea to bring professional baseball to Milwaukie.

To locate the page of Facebook, search for “Milwaukie Baseball Stadium Community Discussion.”
“It’s not always easy for people to get out to a meeting to voice their opinions or ask to ask the questions that are on their minds,” Mayor Jeremy Ferguson said. “But we do think directing people to this Facebook page will give people an effective channel to send us their thoughts.”

 Update 10/28/11: More than 60 residents attended Milwaukie City Council’s first “Listening Lounge” to share their opinions regarding the City’s effort to bring minor league baseball to town at Ardenwald Elementary on Oct. 27, 2011.

Those who spoke favorably of the project predicted a multi-use facility that hosted a single A baseball team would boost the local economy and infuse the community with a sense of pride. Those who spoke unfavorably of the project were concerned about light and noise impacts and that other City initiatives would suffer at the expense of the baseball effort. Thirteen citizens spoke favorably of the project, five raised concerns.

Originally billed as a listening post, Mayor Jeremy Ferguson explained he views the series of meetings more as Listening Lounges, where residents could “sit back and relax and talk about what we want to do for the City of Milwaukie.”

According to the sign-in sheets and a show of hands, about 90% of the attendees were Milwaukie residents, with half being from the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood. Attendees were given surveys to fill out, and 35 comments were collected. Overall, the comments ran six to one in favor of bringing baseball to Milwaukie.

The next Listening Lounge will be held at Milwaukie Elementary on Nov. 9, 2011 at 6 p.m. Council will seek more citizen feedback and City staff will have information on the questions that were raised at the first meeting. The architect working on the project will also be on hand to discuss site feasibility and to take questions from the community.

Those with questions or comments on the project are encouraged to email MilwaukieBaseball@gmailcom.

Update 10/17/11: Milwaukie City Council is holding three listening posts throughout the community to give residents several opportunities to speak directly with the Council about its goal of bringing professional baseball to Milwaukie and back to the Portland-metro region.

The Listening Posts will be held:
Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, Ardenwald Elementary School Cafeteria, 6 - 7p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, Milwaukie Elementary School Cafeteria, 6 - 7p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, Linwood Elementary School Cafeteria, 6 - 7p.m.

“City Council believes that pro baseball is going to come back to the area and we think by bringing it to Milwaukie, we would be bringing family-friendly entertainment to town that would be a tremendous boost to our local economy,” said Mayor Jeremy Ferguson. "But as I and the rest of the Council have promised, we will only go forward after we've heard from our residents and if it's possible for the project to fit the needs of Milwaukie. These listening posts will give our residents a chance to talk to us directly about their hopes and concerns about bringing professional baseball to town."

The hour-long listening posts will be moderated and designed to give Milwaukie residents a chance to communicate their concerns and ideas about the "Bring it Back" project to Council members. A short presentation providing some background on the effort will be made at the beginning of each listening post and Council members will be there primarily to listen. A report on the three listening posts will be delivered to the full Council later this year.

City Council authorized contracts to hire consultants to further study the project at its Oct. 4, 2011 Council Meeting, and directed staff to actively engage the citizenry to learn its concerns and attitudes regarding the project.


Update 9/27/11: In its aspiration to land a minor league baseball team, the City Council heard a recommendation at its Sept. 20th Work Session to assemble a team of communication and design professionals to advance the baseball concept on the ODOT site in the North Industrial area. At its Oct. 4th meeting, Council will be asked to approve contracts that will launch the advisory team.

The team includes an architecture firm that will conduct site and building feasibility studies, a project management firm with expertise in public/private sports facility construction, and a communications firm with experience raising money for minor league baseball stadiums.

“Council has been out in the community and continues to hear excitement about the Bring It Back campaign, but also a lot of questions,” said Kenny Asher, the City’s Director of Community Development and Public Works. “The council recognizes that the best chances for success, and the best information for the community, will come through an advisors that have successfully completed this kind of deal before.”

The project is being designed in phases so Council can end the effort at different intervals based on feasibility findings. Project costs will be mostly absorbed in the Community Development budget, which is where the city funds economic development activities.

Update 9/15/11: In an effort to spread the word about City Council's efforts to bring minor league baseball to Milwaukie, and to get a feel for what residents think about the idea, City Councilors and the City's Community Development Director visited the Sept. 12, 2011 Historic Milwaukie Neighborhood Association Meeting, and the Sept. 13, 2011 Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association meeting.

Council Joe Loomis attended the Historic Milwaukie meeting, while Councilor Dave Hedges attended the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek meeting. Both councilors talked about the narrow window of opportunity that opened when the Portland Beavers left the Portland metro market, leaving the region without professional baseball.

They shared their views that minor league baseball could stimulate other revitalization efforts in town and explained that the people of Milwaukie would ultimately need to approve the conceptand that they’ve directed staff to bring together the best team they can to put forth the best concept possible to respond to this unique opportunity.

If you have thoughts you'd like to share, please send them to Public Affairs Coordinator Grady Wheeler, at

UPDATED 8/17/11: Officers from Milwaukie’s Neighborhood District Associations sat down with City Council at the August 16, 2011 Work Session to learn more about the effort to bring professional baseball to the City’s North Industrial Area.

Mayor Ferguson explained to the Neighborhood leaders that the idea stems from trying to create greater economic activity in the City and trying to establish an attraction in Milwaukie without adding a lot of density. Asked where the City was in its overall efforts, the Mayor explained that it is still very early in the process and that the City is currently looking at different firms that could lend expertise to the City’s effort. He emphasized that it will be up to the community as to how far this venture will go.

He explained a task force will eventually be formed, and asked the Neighborhood leaders to help spread the word.

Through the course of the conversation, the Mayor explained the facility’s primary use would be for baseball, but the idea is to have it accommodate other uses that bring as much community benefit as possible.

As for what the cost might be to the Milwaukie taxpayer for a stadium that costs $20 - $30 million, Mayor Ferguson said this is very much undetermined as the private-public partnerships have yet to be developed.

Update 8/11/11: Milwaukie’s Mayor Jeremy Ferguson met with Portland Mayor Sam Adams to outline Milwaukie’s efforts to bring Minor League baseball back to the Portland Metro-Area on Monday, Aug. 8, 2011.

Mayor Adams is supportive of the “BRING IT BACK” effort, and agreed to lend some assistance. Specifically, Mayor Adams said he would commit City of Portland staff resources with expertise in facilities development to help Milwaukie put together its proposal to land a minor league baseball franchise.

Another subject of focus was coordinating land use and transportation planning between the two cities in the future Tacoma Light Rail station area, where the potential site is located. Mayor Adams also expressed an interest in reviewing the baseball finance plan when it is completed.


Update 8/3/11: Milwaukie City Council enthusiastically encouraged staff to continue pursuing its goal of bringing baseball to Milwaukie and back to the Portland-Metro region at its Aug. 2, 2011 Council meeting.

“I strongly support the idea of a baseball stadium in the location that we’re looking at right now,” Mayor Jeremy Ferguson said.

While all five Councillors back the idea, they all suggested it will be the residents of Milwaukie who will be the real drivers of the effort.

"I really believe this can happen," Councilor Loomis said. "We have a fantastic location ... but the citizens are going to ultimately be the reason this happens or doesn’t happen.”

“We definitely need the community involvement,” Mayor Ferguson said.

Press Clips
The Oregonian, October 18, 2011: City Council to hold listening posts to elicit feedback from community.

The Oregonian, August 26, 2011: Light rail and baseball ignite developers' interest in Milwaukie's north industrial area

Vancouver Business Journal, August 3, 2011: Baseball fever hits Milwaukie

CSNW.COM: Minor-league baseball in Milwaukie?

The Oregonian, August 1, 2011: Rx for a summer without baseball  

The Oregonian, July 31, 2011: Milwaukie takes serious steps to lure minor league baseball