Portland city commissioners question baseball stadium zoning

Portland Diamond Project rendering of the possible Major League Baseball stadium at the Port of Portland's Terminal 2 site - Image courtesy Portland Diamond Project

The Portland Diamond Project has targeted Terminal 2 in Northwest Portland as the possible future site for a new Major League Baseball stadium.

Now, two city commissioners have questions about the zoning changes that would accompany such a project in that industrial neighborhood.

"It’s actually zoned that there could be commercial outdoor entertainment, but it would be a conditional use, which would require showing that the transportation is capable of serving that use and it wouldn’t be allowed to have affordable housing or any type of housing under the current zoning," said Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

That contradicts plans from PDP, which announced in April that a robust affordable housing project could be built near the new stadium.

"We're planning to pave the way for 8,000 new workforce and market-rate apartments to create a vibrant, walkable community around the facility," said PDP founder and president Craig Cheek back in April.

Housing is a key issue for Fritz, but she also doesn't want to see an environmental ripple effect from a re-zoning of industrial properties.

"I don’t support re-zoning it from industrial to allow housing by right; we have a very limited supply of industrial land. If we give those up it means we have to find land elsewhere which is most likely going to be open space, greenspace that is needed for wildlife habitat," Fritz said.

The organizers of the project are aware of the concerns, but remain optimistic these issues can be worked out.

"We are extremely excited about the prospects for a ballpark and accompanying development at Terminal 2. We have begun to have conversations with the city about their vision for zoning on the site and we look forward to digging into these questions with them to create benefits for the entire community, “ said John McIsaac, PDP spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Nick Fish shares some of those concerns but is also impressed with what PDP has done so far.

"They haven’t asked for any handouts, and if they do land a baseball team, then the city will do all the things it does for any developer -- help with some infrastructure and hopefully be a good partner, but I find it refreshing that people are talking about bringing a new sport here but not asking Portland taxpayers to underwrite the sport, so why shouldn’t we root for them?" Fish said.

Commissioners Fritz and Fish will be the featured guests on KATU's Your Voice Your Vote this Sunday, Dec. 9 at 9 a.m.

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