Triple-A Portland is exploring the possibility of temporarily relocating to Tucson, Ariz., for the start of the 2011 season if it cannot complete construction on a new local ballpark in time for Opening Day, a pair of newspapers recently reported.
The Arizona Star reported that Portland owner Merritt Paulson has been exploring the Tucson market, which hosts a pair of ballparks suitable for Triple-A baseball. Meanwhile, Portland general manager Chris Metz confirmed to the Oregonian that the team has been looking at other markets, but he would not elaborate as to where.
The Beavers must find a new home before Opening Day 2011 because the Portland City Council approved a $31 million renovation of PGE Park for the Major League Soccer team owned by Paulson, the Portland Timbers.
In a statement to the Oregonian, Paulson said that his goal remains to keep the team in the Portland area, noting the three proposals for a new ballpark in local sites that were ultimately rejected. No new location for a ballpark in the Portland area has been announced, which only raises the challenge of having a facility in place by the start of the 2011 season.
"With no immediate local solution at this time, however, I have been approached by other locales with potential contingency plans for the Beavers outside the area," Paulson said in the statement. "Given the rich history of the Beavers in Portland and the loyalty of our fans, this is not our preferred option, but one that we have no choice but to consider, given the timelines involved."
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