Will Hillsboro Be Able To Keep Its Minor League Baseball Team?

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The Hillsboro Hops’ ownership wants taxpayers money to build a new stadium.

Another professional baseball team may be leaving town and moving into a new city because the team’s stadium doesn’t meet Major League Baseball standards and there seems to be no public money for the low-level Minor-League Baseball club. The team in question is the Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League and the team is affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise. Hillsboro is the fifth largest city in Oregon and is part of the Portland metropolitan market. There are about 106,000 people who live in Hillsboro. The city reached an agreement to bring a Yakima, Washington franchise to town in 2012 and construction on a 4,500-seat stadium began in September 2012. The team started playing in the facility in June 2013. The ten-year old stadium does not cut it anymore. Hops’ ownership wants to build a new stadium but needs funding from some government entity whether it is from local or state sources. The Hops’ ownership is looking for $20 million. MLB has given the Hops’ ownership to get the government money by September 30th or else. The “or else” could mean moving the team out of Hillsboro. MLB has eight owners who want new or renovated stadiums and there has been a trickle-down effect on the minors where various cities are being pushed to spend money on facilities or risk losing teams.

“If the funding doesn’t come through, the MLB has the opportunity to force us into selling the team or relocating the team. We don’t want to relocate the team. Obviously, we’re invested in Hillsboro. We all live in Hillsboro, but if we sell the team, it would be up to a new owner. The new owner can’t play here, so they’re not gonna have a choice. They must move the team,” said the Hops’ General Manager K.L. Wombacher. Welcome to the real world of professional baseball.

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