Portland could have a new baseball stadium by 2023. The Portland Diamond Project (PDP) is leading the charge to bring a Major League Baseball (MLB) team and stadium to Rose City. The PDP has chosen a location for the new stadium where necessary environmental and traffic studies have begun.
In terms of when this stadium is projected to be finished, John McIssac, an employee for the PDP says, “We would love to have the ballpark and a team playing there by 2023.”
The proposed location for the stadium is Pier 2, on the west side of the Willamette River, located just about a mile north of Portland’s “Slabtown.” Pier 2 is currently a cargo terminal equipped with a dock for ships and highway access. The terminal is managed by Port of Portland. The Oregonian reports that the PDP had previously considered the Lloyd Center area as a possible construction site; however, the pre-construction process is said to be continuing at Pier 2. John McIssac believes Pier 2 is a great place to put a stadium; “Terminal 2 is underdeveloped and underutilized right now, and it presents a tremendous opportunity to create a new vibrant district for Portland.”
Baseball enthusiast Casper Eichman disagrees. When he first saw the proposed location, his first reaction was skeptical. He said, “That’s pretty far away, there’s nothing out there… I’ve never been over there and that’s not a good thing.” Other stakeholders were also surprised. In addition to the lack of amenities and community knowledge about this area, the location only features one bus line, with non-frequent service and only two direct access roads. Director of Planning Services at the City of Portland, Alex Dupey, thinks creating a new district could be a challenge. “Stadiums are often very challenging to integrate into a district where you want activity at more times than just during games. The Rose Garden is a good example of a place that is really dead except for games.”
The PDP plans to stock the stadium and surrounding area with “outstanding locally sourced food and beverage amenities” as well as “opportunities for small businesses and markets.” McIssac is convinced the ballpark has the potential to transform the City of Portland and even the entire state; “It will bring in thousands of jobs and tax revenue, but it will also enable us to build a sustainable, walkable district, with affordable housing.” While not a fan of the location, Casper Enrich is a fan of the idea of a baseball team in his hometown. “I think it would make a lot of money and be very successful… I would buy season tickets.”
The stadium itself will seat a whopping 32,000 fans, 12,000 more people than the Moda Center can hold and 7,000 more people than Providence Park’s maximum capacity. So even though this would be huge for Portland, it would still stand as the second smallest MLB stadium just behind Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
At this point in time, Pier 2 is the best possible location for the stadium. Whether it will be a hit or not is up to the citizens of Portland.
To start construction on Pier 2, the owners must purchase the real estate. According to McIssac, it’s “currently under contract.” The PDP needs 100 percent control of the land before any ground can be broken. Once environmental and traffic studies have been completed, the PDP should have no problem sealing the deal.
The PDP has a sturdy, plentiful financial backing of 1.5 billion dollars. The investor list includes many celebrities, like quarterback Russell Wilson, recording artist Ciara, and former baseball player Darwin Barney. The total cost is projected to total around 2.5 billion dollars, and the purchase of the land itself is less than half of this total cost.
There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but the chances of a MLB team in Portland are high, which greatly pleases baseball fans.