Welcome to our first edition of the “Portland, Play Ball!” e-newsletter, brought to you by the Oregon Stadium Campaign. As Major League Baseball opens across North America, we want Oregonians to keep track of our progress as we seek an Opening Day of our own, perhaps as soon as next spring. It is our desire that this newsletter will help you monitor the mounting support and developments that will determine exactly how soon Portland can hear the shouts of “Play Ball!” at an MLB Opening Day in a beautiful new ballpark.
Over 400 Oregon Businesses Step Up to the Plate
More than 400 Oregon businesses have endorsed the Oregon Stadium Campaign and its efforts to bring Major League Baseball to Portland. This groundswell of business support clearly signals that Oregon business leaders understand the positive impacts that baseball will have on the state’s economy and quality of life. The long and quickly growing list of business supporters includes the leading companies and organizations from all key Oregon sectors.
“This type of support is invaluable to this campaign,” said David Kahn, leader of the Oregon Stadium Campaign. “Clearly, this community is ready to back efforts to win a major league franchise and to support a team when play begins.”
“MLB Jobs Bill” Introduced in Oregon Legislature
This past week, a collection of Oregon’s largest business & labor associations introduced House Bill 3606 — dubbed the “MLB Jobs Bill” — in the Oregon House of Representatives. The bill earned its nickname because of the 1,500 construction jobs that would be created by a stadium project and the economic stimulus that would result from the arrival of a Major League Baseball team. HB 3606 would provide approximately $150 million in bonds toward construction of a new baseball stadium in Portland. The bonds will be repaid through the income taxes of baseball players and team employees — ensuring that the state will use no existing revenues to help build the stadium. The bill will be assigned to the Rules committee where hearings will take place shortly, and a vote by the full House is expected in April.
The Oregonian says, “Take a swing at baseball”
In an editorial on March 28, The Oregonian expressed incredibly strong support for Oregon’s bid to bring Major League Baseball to Portland and for HB 3606, the “MLB Jobs Bill” introduced this week in the Oregon Legislature. According to the article, “bringing baseball to Portland would give a positive jolt to the Oregon economy.” The Oregonian concludes by saying Oregon “can show a sense of purpose and take a swing at a Major League Baseball team.” For the full text of the editorial, please click here.
Poll Shows Strong Support for Major League Baseball
A statewide poll of 600 Oregonians conducted in March shows strong support for bringing Major League Baseball to Portland. Fifty-six percent of Oregonians polled said attracting a Major League team to Oregon is a “good idea”. And the poll shows support will translate into ticket sales. Statewide, 56 percent of poll respondents said they would attend at least one MLB game a season. In Multnomah County, where Portland is located, 63 percent of residents said they would attend at least one game a year. Poll respondents also demonstrated a high regard for Major League Baseball, with 65 percent saying they have favorable impressions of MLB. Utilizing those numbers and comparing them to Oregon’s total population, a MLB team would draw more than 2 million fans in the first year in Oregon just from single game attendees.
Governor Kulongoski and Mayor Katz Support MLB in Portland
In separate letters to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Vera Katz voiced “strong support” for bringing Major League Baseball to Portland. According to Governor Kulongoski, “Portland is the right place — and this is the right time — for big league baseball to come to Oregon.”