Fewer seats, higher cost for Hillsboro Hops

Has anyone north of the Columbia River been tracking the latest developments with the Hillsboro Hops?

Does anyone even remember that the owners of the minor league baseball team courted Vancouver first?

Follow that link if you need a refresher, but my point is that none of the partners — Clark County, Clark College, the Clark College Foundation, Clark County —  here were willing to back bonds to pay for the construction of a stadium, and the county commissioners also shot down the idea of an admissions tax.

Things haven’t been going so smoothly in Hillsboro, where the city council was willing to back construction bonds.  The $15.2 million project had $350,000 in cost overruns, which a city official called “reasonable,” and the number of fixed seats have been reduced from 4,500 to 3,534, according to The Oregonian.

There will be more places to stand and watch games, because, you know, that’s so appealing.

According to The O, the fixed seats will be wider and have more back support. (I thought minor league teams courted families, but that sounds like an overture to the hefty-and-old crowd.) There’s also been speculation a safety net, meant to keep baseballs from hitting cars on an adjacent street, could serve as a giant bird trap. A conservation biologist from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was quoted in The O saying she has seen raptors and other birds in the area, and the net could have a “negative impact,” although a parks manager said a net at a nearby softball field hasn’t killed or trapped any birds.

The stadium is under construction, but is expected to be ready for the first home game on June 17.  And — here’s the part that would have gone over well in Vancouver, seeing how many residents love fireworks — The O now reports that there might be a colorful display to mark the occasion.


Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at stephanie.rice@columbian.com or 360-735-4508.

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